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Historic Century Plaza Hotel Spared from Wrecking Ball

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Threatened with demolition in late 2008 and named as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2009, the Century Plaza Hotel was saved, it was announced today. Owners Next Century Associates had proposed a project that would end in the demolition of the hotel to make way for a mixed use project comprising hotel, residential, office, retail, public plazas, and open space, raising red flags for preservationists.

"How is the demolition of a 40-year-old, fully functioning building environmentally responsible?" asked Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, when plans about the project surfaced. "It boggles the imagination to think a developer could propose tearing down a newly renovated, thriving hotel - a landmark of modern architecture - and replace it with new construction."

Soon it became a war of words with Next Century fighting back: "We are disappointed to see the Century Plaza Hotel politicized in this way, particularly at a time when the City of Los Angeles is suffering from extreme economic hardship and is in dire need of new jobs. The naming of the hotel as an historic place is not supported by the facts."

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However, today the two entities, along with the L.A. Conservancy, have compromised, collaborating to come up with a proposal that would preserve the hotel while allowing for new development on the property. “Next Century’s willingness to embrace a plan that preserves the hotel is a great step forward,” said L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz, who supported the hotel's preservation when he ran for office.

"The revised development project will preserve the existing hotel building while providing a mix of residential, office, and retail uses on the property," explains a join press release between Next Century and preservationists. "The project will undergo the normal City review and approval process including a full environmental impact report (EIR) which will be submitted later this year."

The Century Plaza, currently operated as a Hyatt Regency, was completed in 1966. It was designed by architect and engineer Minoru Yamasaki, who was also the architect of Century City’s Theme Towers and New York's World Trade Center towers.

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