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The Future of a 217 Year-Old Landmark

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As people bustled about during their lunch hour, no one seemed to notice one of the most important historic landmarks in California. On January 13, 1847, Lt. Col. John C. Frémont and Gen. Andres Pico, leaders of their respective American and Mexican troops, met on the porch of Campo de Cahuenga to sign the Treaty of Cahuenga, a document that ended the California front of the Mexican-American war.

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Now the site, located on Lankershim Blvd., just south of Ventura in North Hollywood, is locked in a battle with Thomas Properties Group (TPG), a Los Angeles-based development firm. TPG plans to construct a $750 million mixed-use site around Campo de Cahuenga, calling for two office buildings, 25,000 square feet of retail establishments, a new, 300,000 square foot NBC studio, and a six-level parking structure that would replace the existing Metro lot. A 24-story condominium unit is also a possibility.

The new construction could be a boon for the area, says the Board of Directors of Campo de Cahuenga, except that “it threatens our security and sanctity,” said Guy Weddington McCreary, the Chairman of the Board.

“We’re not saying don’t build anything,” says Deuk (pronounced Duke) Perrin, President of the Board, recently from the grounds of Campo de Cahuenga. “But, the severity of what they are planning is so intense that it’s outrageous. The infrastructure just can’t take it. It’s too massive.”

Perrin, a former city planner, prefers a 10-story building instead of the planned 24-story structure that will not be as much of a burden on the area nor on Campo de Cahuenga. In the end, he hopes that the modernity will not overshadow the landmark, risking its relegation to the dustbin of history.