To the chagrin of preservationists, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously yesterday to designate the site, bar top, and signage of Echo Park's Taix French restaurant as a historic-cultural landmark, but not the building itself.
The move is a win for developer Holland Partner Group, which is pursuing the redevelopment of the property at 1911 Sunset Boulevard with a pair of six-story structures featuring 170 apartments, ground-floor commercial space, and subterranean parking. The Vancouver, Washington-based company, which purchased the land from the owner of Taix for $12 million, struck a deal which will allow the restaurant to return as a tenant on the ground-floor of the new complex.
Mike Taix, the owner, has previously indicated that Taix is unable to survive in its current building, and has credited the deal with Holland Partner Group for saving the business, according to the Eastsider.
Architecture firm AC Martin is designing the development, which will set aside 24 apartments as deed-restricted affordable housing. Renderings depict a contemporary podium-type complex, bisected by a pedestrian paseo cutting between Sunset Boulevard and Reservoir Street to the north.
The vote overrode a recommendation from the City's Cultural Heritage Commission, which would have applied to the building as well. Instead, the Council approved an alternate plan - which applied solely to the site and notable features of the restaurant - floated by 13th District Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, who stated that he had been a customer of Taix since the 1980s.
“Unfortunately, nostalgia will not save the business,” O’Farrell said during the Council hearing. “In this case, it is my main objective to do everything possible to give this business a chance to survive. That simply is not going to happen with the current structure.”
The Los Angeles Conservancy, in a statement posted to its Twitter account, decried the solution offered by O'Farrell.
"This nomination completely undermines L.A.'s Cultural Heritage Commission and single-handedly devalues the city's nearly 60-year-old preservation program," reads the statement. "This nomination is architectural salvage, not preservation, and allows the developer to circumvent environmental laws."
- Taix French Restaurant (Urbanize LA)