Firestone Tire and Rubber Plant
UPDATE: good news, as Building 2, the main surviving building of the former Firestone Tire and Rubber Plant, is no longer proposed for demolition. While we await a future plan and reuse for this iconic and vacant South Gate historic building, we are very pleased to hear this news by the Angeles Community College District (LACCD). We look forward to working with them to develop a long-term plan and reuse for this building.
In August 2020, the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) released its Notice of Preparation for the proposed demolition of the last building associated with the historic Firestone Tire and Rubber Plant, South Gate Facility. The Notice of Preparation for the South Gate Educational Center (SGEC) Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is the third environmental review project for the campus in ten years. With each EIR, LACCD has demolished a new set of historic buildings clearing the way for five new surface parking lots and one classroom building.
During the LACCD's first EIR in 2009, SWCA Environmental Consultants determined the Firestone plant eligible as the South Gate Historic District for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources. At that time, four buildings comprised the South Gate Historic District. Buildings 1, 2, and 3 were identified as individually eligible for listing in the California Register and Building 4 was determined to be a district contributor.
"Building 2" is the last remaining structure connected to this important industrial facility, targeted by the LACCD for demolition, thereby erasing Firestone Tire's significant legacy in South Gate.
Given the two previous EIRs, LACCD has either shown their lack of understanding of the California Envionmental Quality Act (CEQA) for planning the SGEC campus or is consciously dismantling the eligible historic district through a piecemeal process.
We believe there is more than enough space on the campus to provide LACCD's desired greenspace without needlessly demolishing this historic building. With more than 3/4 of the campus set to be used for parking, LACCD can reimagine their plans for parking as a means to incorporate the desired greenspace.
In 1927, construction began on Firestone Tire's first manufacturing facility outside of Akron, Ohio. The property, known as the Firestone Tire and Rubber Plant, South Gate Facility, was designed by architects Alec Curlett & Claud Beelman in the Italianate Mediterranean Revival style.
As Los Angeles's automobile and aerospace industries grew, so did the plant. Additions to the facility were constructed in 1929, 1942, 1951, and 1955. It's unknown if the original architects were retained for these additions. The Firestone Plant contributed greatly to the local economy, creating thousands of jobs, along with BF Goodrich and Goodyear, Los Angeles became the country's second-largest rubber manufacturer after Akron, OH.
After a number of sales in the 1970s, Firestone Tire closed its South Gate Facility in 1980. In 2009 the property was purchased by the Los Angeles Community College District for the South Gate Educational Center campus.
We believe that the Los Angeles Community College District has failed to adequately adhere to the California Envionmental Quality Act (CEQA) and plan for their students needs during two previous environmental impact reports over a period of 10 years.
To date, much of the campus remains vacant and it is not too late for LACCD to halt their proposed demolition of Building 2 and reimagine green space and parking design on their campus.