Examples of L.A. landmarks, plans to transform them and efforts at preservation of the structures.
Status Check: Being turned into a high school.
Designed by architect Myron Hunt also responsible for Occidental College, the Rose Bowl and the Pasadena Public Library the 500-room Ambassador Hotel opened on Wilshire Boulevard in 1921. The hotel's nightclub, the Cocoanut Grove, attracted Hollywood's brightest stars, including Bing Crosby, Barbra Strei-sand and Frank Sinatra. The hotel hosted the third Academy Awards, where the golden Oscar statuette was unveiled. But the Ambassador became notorious as the site where Senator Robert Kennedy was shot in 1968 by Sirhan Sirhan in the pantry off the Embassy Ballroom.
The hotel was closed in 1989. The Schine Family sold the Ambassador in 1990 to a partnership that included Donald Trump, who wanted to build a skyscraper on the site. Then the Los Angeles Unified School District bought the Ambassador in 2001 and won approval to construct a school there while retaining a few historic elements. The Cocoanut Grove will become an auditorium, and sections of the pantry where Kennedy was assassinated are slated for storage. Demolition began last year.
Status Check: Becoming apartments available for lease next year.
Alexander Perino, a restaurateur who arrived in Hollywood via Italy in 1925 to wait tables at some of L.A.'s top eateries, opened Perino's restaurant in 1932 on Wilshire Boulevard. Several years later, he moved Perino's two blocks to a grocery market stylishly revamped by architect Paul Williams. In 1954, a fire ravished the inside of the restaurant, and Perino rebuilt it incorporating such accents as pink linen table cloths and pink roses on table tops to match the pink exterior.
Hollywood's finest were Perino's regulars. Bette Davis had a standing reservation, Frank Sinatra tickled the ivories and Cole Porter reportedly wrote a song on the flipside of a menu. Perino sold the restaurant in 1969 and attempts to rekindle its old glamour failed. With the exception of the occasional party and film crew, Perino's closed to the public in 1986.
Carey & Kutay Development Group bought Perino's in 2002 for $4 million. Last year, work started on an estimated $24 million, 47-unit apartment complex. Killefer Flammang Architects has designed the apartment building in a Spanish Colonial Baroque style, although Perino's original sheet-metal awning, porte cochere and neon sign will remain as a tribute to the look of times gone by.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.
Stories You May Also Be Interested In
- Long Gone
- Brown Derby's Replacement Sparks Preservation Debate
- Historic Preservation Laws Have Been Good for Los Angeles
- Apple to Shine Up New Space in Santa Monica
- SPECIAL REPORT: Past Tense
- Palladium Deal Collapses but Landmark's Still for Sale
- Closing Act on Palladium Bill?
- Hollywood Landmark Still for Sale