The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday designated the former Hollywood Reporter headquarters on Sunset Boulevard as a historic cultural landmark.
The designation caps a year-and-a-half-long effort by the Art Deco Society to have the one-story building at 6715 Sunset Blvd. designated historic. The building is on one of several parcels that are being considered for redevelopment as part of the proposed Crossroads of the World project, which will include three towers with a hotel, housing and commercial space along the north side of Sunset Boulevard between Highland and Las Palmas avenues.
The designation protects the building from demolition and the hope is it can be incorporated into the new project, said Art Deco Society president Margot Gerber. The structure was built in 1924 in the regency modern architectural style. It was designed by architect Douglas Honnold. Hallmarks of its architectural design are rounded corners on the exterior.
“We are elated that the city sees the importance of the building,” Gerber said. “In an era of so much development, we are really pleased the city sees this building should be preserved.”
Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District, worked with the Art Deco Society to preserve the building.
“This happened through a grassroots effort, which I supported, and the designation makes this the eleventh historic cultural monument in the 13th District since I took office in 2013,” O’Farrell said.
The Hollywood Reporter moved into the building shortly after Billy Wilkerson founded the entertainment industry trade publication in 1930. Previously, it had housed a men’s clothing store.
The Hollywood Reporter operated out of the building through the early 1990s, and the building was later occupied by L.A. Weekly through 2008. The Hollywood Reporter is currently located at 5700 Wilshire Blvd. The Sunset Boulevard Building had most recently been used by a telemarketing firm, and is currently vacant.
Wilkerson was a pioneering Hollywood businessman who was involved in numerous ventures. He also started the long-closed Hollywood nightclubs Café Trocadero and Ciro’s on the Sunset Strip. Wilkerson was among the founding fathers of Las Vegas, having built the Flamingo Hotel. Wilkerson died in 1962 and the Sunset Boulevard building stayed in the family until his wife Tichi Wilkerson died in 2004. It is currently owned by the La Kretz family, which also owns the nearby Crossroads of the World property, Gerber said. The site is under consideration for development by Harridge Development Group, which is leasing the site from the owners. Harridge opposed the historic designation.
Bill Higgins, a writer for the Hollywood Reporter, said few people on staff were with the publication from the days when the trade paper was located in the building. It is important to recognize the history that occurred there, he added.
“If journalism is history’s first draft, then a lot of Hollywood’s history was written in that beautiful building,” Higgins said. “Plus, you have the story of Billy Wilkerson who owned the Sunset Strip’s best clubs and arguably founded what we call Las Vegas by constructing the Flamingo.”
Gerber said the building is historically significant because the newspaper was once located there and because it is a rare example of regency modern architecture and work by Honnold, who also designed luxury private homes in Los Angeles during the same period. She added that the Hollywood Reporter was once printed at the site as well, and there are few examples left in Los Angeles of buildings that housed both editorial and printing operations.
“They printed at the site through the late 1980s,” Gerber said. “The architecture was also unique and important. It was built in the regency modern style, which is an offshoot of the art deco style.”
Gerber added that she is eager to see how the Hollywood Reporter Building could be incorporated into the Hollywood landscape of the future. She hopes it could potentially house a restaurant.
“They will have to figure out how to build around it. We see it as a marriage of new and old,” Gerber said. “We understand there has to be development, but it is important to protect significant buildings. It certainly can be done when you have the right property. There are few buildings left in in this style in L.A.”
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.