Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ambassador Cam, #36

Ambassador remains, 9:45 a.m., January 22, 2008

It's possibly all over today, as the remaining pieces of the Ambassador -- mostly what's left of the Cocoanut Grove -- are demolished. We've already paid our final respects to the grand old hotel via the Ambassador Hotel wake two years ago; now it's time to let it go, I suppose.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Ambassador's Truly Last Stand

(Pic thanks to Franklin Avenue reader Theresa Inman)

The L.A. Conservancy has given up the fight to try to save the final standing elements of the Ambassador Hotel -- including the remaining pieces of the famed Cocoanut Grove (above, seen during an Academy Awards ceremony). The L.A. Times had the details on Wednesday:

Ending perhaps its most contentious battle over a new campus, the Los Angeles Unified School District will pay $4 million to fund historic school conservation in exchange for the Los Angeles Conservancy dropping a lawsuit that sought to preserve the once-glitzy Cocoanut Grove nightclub at the former Ambassador Hotel.

"We still continue to believe that it was feasible to save the hotel," said Linda Dishman, the conservancy's executive director. "At this point, we as an organization want to move on. What's left at the Ambassador site is not really historic preservation at this point, and there's a lot of other buildings we can focus on."

The settlement will allow the school system to demolish most of the Cocoanut Grove's structure and begin building a sprawling, 4,200-student K-12 campus on the site, which it had been eyeing for a school for decades.

"It is my greatest hope that this puts the whole saga finally to an end," said Kevin Reed, the district's general counsel. He said the district would have won the lawsuit, but decided to end the case so the $566-million project could continue on schedule. The first of the schools, a K-3 building, is slated to open in 2009.

Such a move was inevitable; as you can see below (in a picture taken in October), there just wasn't much left anyway. As so this sad chapter in L.A. preservation comes to a close. The remaining portion of the Ambassador will be torn down on Jan. 22.