In 2000 a plan emerged by then-owner Legacy Partners to demolish the existing 260-unit development with a new 403-unit project. Following strong opposition from long-time tenants, the Conservancy, and then-councilmember Michael Feuer, Chase Knolls was successfully designated as a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM). A Los Angeles Times editorial at the time said,
“You don’t have to be an expert to recognize that there’s something special about Chase Knolls.”
After much debate, the owners ultimately decided to instead preserve Chase Knolls. They gained approval for sensitive infill development as part of this negotiated process, allowing them to build up to six new buildings with 141 units in areas where carports exist, increasing the number of allowable housing units to 401, just shy of what was originally proposed through demolition. Legacy Partners also pursued incentive programs including the Mills Act to provide substantial property tax relief in exchange for preserving and maintaining the historic property.
While there have been delays and challenges in terms of implementing provisions outlined within the Mills Act contract, there is recent good news to report. By the summer of 2013 the owners have completed a full exterior rehabilitation on all of Chase Knolls’ garden apartment buildings – including new roofs, period appropriate paint colors, and the restoration of key features. Work resumed on the approved project in the summer of 2016.