Parties interested in saving the former Hanna-Barbera building in Hollywood from being razed by a developer have a reprieve and are marshalling support at the city and California state level to have it declared a historic site for its architectural significance and importance as a part of Hollywood history. Los Angeles developer William McGregor was seeking approval to transform the site at 3400 Cahuenga Blvd., near Universal Studios, into an apartment and retail space in a meeting before the Los Angeles City Council Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee. But opposition has swiftly mounted from the Los Angeles Conservancy group, animation professionals, Joseph Barbera, co-founder of HB, and a neighborhood association concerned about the traffic and proposed new freeway on-ramp for the project. Amidst this controversy, PLUM granted a six-month continuance for the developer to work on his plans while the L.A. Conservancy is petitioning the California Register of Historical Resources to protect the birthplace of THE FLINTSTONES and THE JETSONS.
Ken Bernstein, director of preservation issues for the L.A. Conservancy, and Alan Leib, chairman of The Modern Committee of the L.A. Conservancy, are leading the state registration drive. They will be seeking letters of support and people to testify why the site is of historic significance. A letter from Barbera was read already at the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council along with a statement from Leib (to read these letters in their entirety, go to http://news.awn.com/index.php3?newsitem_no=8479) Leib is busy preparing a presentation of original photography of the building. He welcomes any photos, footage and historical research to help prepare the case for preservation.
They both suggest that concerned parties contact the area city councilman, Tom LaBonge, who so far is siding with the developer. The councilman sits on the PLUM committee, which normally will follow the recommendations of the politician from the area who should know its conditions best. The Conservancy people believe (and have observed in previous campaigns) that when local officials hear enough opposition, they alter their position to reflect their constituents.
Councilman LaBonge can be reached via phone at (213) 485-3337 or (818) 755-7630; via fax at (213) 624-7810 or (818) 755-7637; or via e-mail at Labonge@council.lacity.org. To reach the L.A. Conservancy, call (213) 623-2489.