The Los Angeles City Council has lifted one of the last obstacles to the controversial redevelopment of French restaurant Taix, voting unanimously to reject an appeal filed by a group seeking to preserve the longtime Echo Park restaurant building.
The call could have delayed the redevelopment of the old-school restaurant, known for its soup tureens and lounge overflowing with Dodgers fans after games. Holland Partner Group, a developer based in Vancouver, Washington, plans to replace the restaurant with a modern six-story building with 166 units, two dozen of which would be affordable for low-income households. The building would also house a reduced version of the Taix restaurant.
The redevelopment proposal has alarmed local conservatives who say the beloved building, a mainstay of Sunset Boulevard since the 1960s, has historic significance.
Silver Lake Heritage Trust, a conservation advocacy nonprofit, has been among the most vocal. In October, the nonprofit filed a lawsuit with the city arguing that various approvals given to the developer – such as an increase in density – should be rescinded because the project has been subject to lax environmental review process.
The council rejected the appeal on Friday, saving Holland Partner Group from going back to the drawing board on parts of the project.
Restaurant owner Michael Taix backed the redevelopment, saying the current building is too big and expensive to operate. Taix applauded the board’s decision in a statement provided Friday by Holland Partner Group.
“My family is grateful to the community and the LA City Council for their broad support of Taix,” he said. “…We hope that construction can begin without unnecessary delays as it is essential that we can transfer our operations to the new building in a timely manner so that the jobs of our staff can be preserved and our restaurant can continue its operations in a more efficient and appropriate place.
The city council essentially gave the project its blessing in Friday’s vote. Holland Partner Group had scored another victory in June 2021 when the city council voted to recognize only parts of the restaurant as historic landmarks. The historic designation included the top of the bar and two red and white signs on the exterior of the building. The council did not extend the historic designation to the building itself, which would have complicated the developer’s efforts to demolish it.
The idea of designating specific elements of the restaurant as historic, the brainchild of Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, has disappointed some conservationists, who said the city was setting a dangerous precedent by selecting parts of significant buildings to preserve and removing the rest.
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“What they are proposing is a rescue effort. They are offering to demolish and salvage three items that will be glued into the new structure,” said Carol Cetrone, president of the Silver Lake Heritage Trust. “We argue it’s not about preservation.”
The trust does not plan to appeal the city’s decision.
Separately, a court case A filing by the group in 2021 challenging the city’s decision to let the project go ahead is set to go to trial Feb. 9, according to attorney Frank Angel, who represents the trust. The lawsuit alleges that the City Council was too accommodating to developers and ignored “procedural safeguards” that govern the designation of historic landmarks in Los Angeles.
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