After two delays, the decision to grant historic-cultural monument status to Tom Bergin’s Irish pub will be before the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee on June 11, pending a Friday vote by the City Council.
The motion to designate the former home of Bergin’s at 840 S. Fairfax Ave. as a landmark will expire on June 5 unless the council votes to grant a 15-day extension, said Rita Moreno, legislative assistant for the PLUM Committee. The extension is required because on May 21, the PLUM Committee deferred making a decision until May 28, making it difficult to get the matter through the committee and scheduled for a council vote before June 5, Moreno said. On May 28, the committee’s chair, Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, 8th District, said the committee would seek an extension from the council.
“It’s a very short timeline,” Moreno said.
If the extension is approved, the committee and full council will have until June 20 to act. The only way the matter could be extended past June 20 would be if Bergin’s owner Derek Schreck requested and was granted a 60-day extension, Moreno said.
Mark Pampanin, a spokesman for Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu, 4th District, a proponent of granting the building landmark designation, said as long as the extension is approved by the full council on May 31, the Tom Bergin’s decision will be back before the PLUM committee on June 11 “to accommodate all parties that would like to be there for the vote.”
If recommended for landmark status by the PLUM committee, the building once home to Tom Bergin’s will be back before the full council between June 12 and 20 for the final vote.
Pampanin said the councilman remains confident the building will be granted historic-cultural monument status.
Without the protection afforded by a landmark designation, the building, which has been dormant since the famed Irish bar and restaurant closed after St. Patrick’s Day 2018, could be repurposed. Bergin’s first opened on Wilshire Boulevard in the 1930s and moved to its Fairfax location 70 years ago.
Schreck, who did not return a call for comment for this story, told the Park Labrea News and Beverly Press in March that he opposes the landmark designation because it won’t bring the financially unsuccessful bar back, though it will prevent him from pursuing a sale of the building for use as office space.
Schreck also claims he has some residents on his side. Schreck’s attorney, Benjamin Reznik, submitted documentation to the PLUM committee on May 21 that asserts more than 100 people oppose the landmark designation.
However, supporters of the historic-cultural monument designation, the Miracle Mile Residential Association and Los Angeles Conservancy, say they also have many supporters who’d like to see the building saved.
Ken Hixon, senior vice president of the MMRA, said Bergin’s is an “Irish-American landmark” in Los Angeles, and the supporters of the landmark status won’t be deterred by procedural delays. Hixon said they’ll be out in force at the June 11 meeting “with our shamrocks on.”
“Historic preservation, whether it be an entire neighborhood or a single building, is always difficult and fraught with complexities. It’s not easy …. You just have to make that commitment and roll with the punches,” he said.
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