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Angels Knoll, The '(500) Days Of Summer Park', Is Going To Be Put Up For Sale

"500 Bags of Summer" (Photo by Mark Sebastian via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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About two weeks ago, L.A.'s historic funicular railway Angel's Flight was tagged with graffiti. While the paint was rapidly scrubbed from the side of the train by the Department of Public Works, the vandalism drew attention to the increasingly poor condition of both Angels Flight and Angels Knoll, the piece of land that sits adjacent to the train, where Tom and Summer's bench was located in the movie (500) Days of Summer.

A letter to the editor of the L.A. Times quipped that Angels Flight is looking more like "Angels Blight", but LAist has learned that the tagging of Angels Flight set off a flurry of activity within the city of Los Angeles to try and get Angels Flight and Angels Knoll into shipshape.

It turns out that both Angels Flight and Angels Knoll are caught up in a particularly egregious case of conflicting public regulations and uncertainty. Following a 2013 derailment, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a report that requires Angels Flight be retrofitted with several pricey renovations before operating again. Angels Knoll, at one point lightly maintained as public space, was thrown into bureaucratic purgatory after its owner, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), was dissolved by Governor Jerry Brown, also in 2013. The land has been fenced off to the public since.

Likely because of the renewed attention on the area, downtown L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar introduced a motion on Wednesday that, essentially, kicks off the process to sell the Angels Knoll land to a private developer. This, however, is much easier said than done, given the more than two decades of ambiguity surrounding the land. Urbanize.LA first reported this yesterday.

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Back in the early 1990s, Angels Knoll was originally supposed to be developed as a second-phase of the California Plaza project. The glass skyscrapers known as One and Two California Plaza would have been joined by a third, 915-foot-tall office tower known as "Three California Plaza." As alluded to in Huizar's motion, an early 90s recession meant plans for the third building were scrapped, though the land's official intended use remains designated for a tall office building affiliated with California Plaza.

By now, the city of L.A. is realizing what a prime piece of land Angels Knoll is in an increasingly residential downtown Los Angeles. Located virtually on top of the Pershing Square subway station, and across the street from Grand Central Market, the land sits untouched as construction cranes rise from what can seem like every vacant lot in downtown. Councilmember Huizar's motion is evidence of the the political momentum dedicated to sort-through Angels Knoll's particularly complicated usage rules, and retool those rules to work for the needs of downtown L.A. in 2016

While the city has been tight-lipped as to what this momentum could eventually build into, the land is zoned for a very tall building. Stay tuned.

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