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Commonwealth Building Demolition Delayed

The historic 1960s-era building in the NoHo Arts District is scheduled to be replaced with a modern mixed-use development.

Back in April Patch reported on the on Lankershim Boulevard in the NoHo Arts District. The 1960s-era high-rise had been set to be replaced with a modern mixed-use development, but now those plans are on hold.

The groundbreaking for the new development was scheduled for "Summer 2011," but an official with Chandler Partners, the owners of the Commonwealth Building, said those plans are delayed, as is the demolition. 

The official did not give the reasons for the delay and asked not to be identified because the person most directly involved in the project is on vacation, but simply said the company is "going through the process and there was not much more news to report."

The building, located at 5077 Lankershim Blvd., was built in 1961 and was one of the first high-rise structures in the San Fernando Valley, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy. It currently is home to a Citibank branch location.

Chandler collaborated with the Los Angeles Conservancy on a two-year study of the feasibility of continuing to use the building as office space, but ultimately decided to tear the building down.

The Los Angeles Conservancy submitted the building to the Cultural Heritage Commission for consideration as a historic monument, which would have ceased the demolition. But despite the fact that the Los Angeles Conservancy calls the building "one of the finest mid-twentieth-century office buildings in the San Fernando Valley," the commission denied the application in 2007.

Richard Hilton of the Museum of the San Fernando Valley stopped by the Patch booth at the National Night Out celebration in North Hollywood Park on Aug. 2 and chatted about the building. Hilton leads the museum's , which frequently includes the structure.

Hilton, who strongly supports preserving the building, said the main reason the Cultural Heritage Commission turned down the preservation application was because while the outside of the building has been preserved in its original form, most of the inside had been completely remodeled throughout the years. But Hilton expressed hope that the building might still be saved.

Chandler Partners plans to replace the building with a contemporary five-story, 136-unit apartment complex with 14,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor, according to plans posted on the company's Web site.

Kyle Kilday August 09, 2011 at 06:00 PM
I mean...conservancy is great, but come on. It's a decaying eyesore. Replace it with something that'll benefit the neighborhood.
LABornAndRaised August 09, 2011 at 06:05 PM
While I love my Citibank branch, I want anything that will encourage more pedestrian-ism. That site is a long stretch just for one bank. While I don't think NoHo needs any more apartments, I do like that it will add more retail shops at the ground level. Hopefully, the 14000 squarefeet is not all Citibank.
David Rivers August 10, 2011 at 06:28 AM
Kinda curious what the Commonwealth was for back in the 60's. Anyone know?
Craig Clough (Editor) August 10, 2011 at 07:16 AM
From what I have gathered it has always had a bank on the ground floor (Commonwealth, then All State Savings & Loan, then Citibank) and office space on the other floors, although all the other floors are now empty and closed off.
Joanna August 10, 2011 at 02:56 PM
Just as long as they don't make it a gym.
margie riendeau August 10, 2011 at 03:10 PM
Because the new Valley Plaza is a bust, Why not renovate the building and put in some retail stores to service all the apartments and condos in the area. Such as, shoe stores, clothing, stationery, books, gift shops, and the like. We don't need anymore places to eat or exercise.
Karen Cotter September 03, 2011 at 07:18 PM
Frankly ALL of "new" North Hollywood is a jumbled MESS! No theme, just everyone's unskilled ideas with lack of cohesion in all aspects, architecture and purpose, save for the NoHo Commons, it makes me puke and I don't shop there for ANYTHING. Let's hope an apartment/shopping complex does go in, 5 stories tall in keeping with the general neighborhood. I've lived here since 1952 when I was a teen and watched each transformation with despair. I never tell ANYONE I'm a North Hollywood resident as I'm ashamed of it. I do live in Valley Village, but that's an affectation as well. Let's keep a few older buildings, El Portal, etc. from the earliest days and encourage the use of some actual architects with a sense of color, proportion and the needs of the residents instead of some local politician's wanna be "architect" relative doodling a design whilst sitting in a haze of pot smoke on the can, in a whacked out daze. That's what it looks like now. And WHO, for God's sake, designed those insane NO HO signs arching over the street? Coordinates with NOTHING, just like the rest of downtown....looks like a FUN ZONE in Long Beach from the 1950's. Would be laughable if it weren't the introduction to our town. Bleagh! to all of it.
Keith Jefferies April 11, 2013 at 08:52 AM
While I love things mid-century modern, the building was a bit off-putting. Either it should have been renovated on the exterior or demolished. Looks like the latter won. Just hope the new mixed-use development is decent.

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