Friday, February 27, 2004

Ambassador Update

According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Los Angeles Unified School District's Board of Education may determine the fate of Wilshire Blvd.'s historic Ambassador Hotel by April.

The board was originally supposed to make its decision last fall on whether to raze the site and build a completely new high school, or convert the structure into a school. The Conservancy still has several suggested alternatives to demolishing the Ambassador -- once Los Angeles' most luxurious hotel, and the historical site of Robert Kennedy's assassination.

A handful of special interest groups -- including the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), the Cesar Chavez Foundation, and the Central American Resource Network (CARECEN) -- have come out in support of demolition, complicating the matter. But the Conservancy believes a compromise can still be struck with the LAUSD to keep the basic shell of the Ambassador.

(Shut down in the mid-1980s, it's virtually impossible to see the Ambassador upclose unless you happen to be on a movie or TV shoot there. But Maria and I got to sneak around and take several pics last year.)

Meanwhile, the Conservancy also alerts the public to a new Mexican-American cultural heritage area the County of Los Angeles plans to build near Olvera Street, within the El Pueblo de Los Angeles National Historic District. (Close to where Maria and I got married.)

The cultural area sounds like a good idea, except for one problem: According to the Conservancy, "The proposed project would involve the demolition of two of the 27 contributing structures to the El Pueblo district: the Vickrey-Brunswig Building, built in 1888, and the Brunswig Annex, built in 1897. The project would retain a third historic structure: the 1883 Plaza House. These structures are located on the west side of the 500 block of North Main Street, across from the El Pueblo structures that the City of Los Angeles has recently restored."

Los Angeles has few structures left that pre-date 1900. It would be a shame to lose two of them.