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Last Laugh: Demolition For Beverly Hills Friars Club Building

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Photo by C-Monster via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

Photo by C-Monster via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
The former Beverly Hills home of the legendary Friars Club is being demolished despite preservationist pleas from Los Angeles Conservancy to honor the building as a "celebrity playhouse" and part of the "legacy of 1960s architecture" reports the LA Times.

Demolition, which began earlier this week at the location where "Jack Benny, Gary Cooper and other Hollywood kingpins engaged in cheeky character assassinations at lavish, alcohol-soaked dinners," is expected to conclude in a matter of days, notes the LA Times.

Once the West Coast branch of the private club for entertainers, the Beverly Hills roast-happy Friars was forced to change its name after the New York Friars won a lawsuit in 2008. Club 9900, as it was then know, closed shortly after the suit.

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The building, designed by prominent Los Angeles-based architect Sidney Eisenshtat, "featured a windowless Space Age façade with specially designed ceramic tile and imported marble. The building was included in a 2006 survey of commercial structures in Beverly Hills and identified as being eligible for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources for its association with the Friars Club, as well as for its architectural significance," reports the LA Times.

Beverly Hills, unlike The City of Los Angeles, has no preservation ordinance. Further, because the owner revealed "no immediate plans to rebuild," notes the LA Times, a demolition permit did not require an environmental or discretionary review before being issued.

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