Councilman Tom LaBonge can be officially tagged “money, baby” after leading the L.A. City Council to unanimously approve designating the Derby in Los Feliz a Historical-Cultural Monument, thus saving it from its current owner’s plans to raze it.
From the weekly LaBonge newsletter:
“The people of Los Angeles have awakened to the fact that we’ve lost too much of our architectural heritage and that we’re not going to let these precious buildings fall under the wrecking ball so easily anymore,” he said.
The building met all four criteria for a Historical-Cultural Monument designation, the Council found. They are 1) it is the last of the original and prominent Brown Derby Restaurants from Hollywood’s Golden Age that still exists, 2) it was owned by film pioneer Cecil B. DeMille, 3) it possesses one of the last drive-in car canopies in L.A. and 4) it
retains its unique “Lamella” construction and engineering.
In spite of the good news, the Derby’s fate may not be entirely safe.
LaBonge’s newsletter adds that Adler Realty, the present owners, will instead incorporate the current structure into its plan to create condos and retail spaces. However, its currently unclear if the Derby was granted Full Landmark designation that would keep the Derby 100% intact, instead of a recent compromise by the developers to only 30% of the Derby.
Somewhat foreboding is a quote from Adler Realty VP Richard Gablegiven to the Associated Press: “Our plans are to maintain the existing structure, or at least most of it.”
If you’re looking for a reason to visit the Derby and celebrate, may I suggest this Wednesday’s record release party for the Ditty Bops? Beautiful babies at a newly designated landmark – how money is that?