Mission Hills Bowl | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Mission Hills Bowl

Developer Primestor purchased the Mission Hills Plaza, home to the Martin Stern, Jr.-designed Mission Hills Bowl, in 2007 with the goal of redeveloping this commercial center in the northern San Fernando Valley. The bowling alley, which had operated under its most recent owner since 1974, closed its doors in May 2015. 

Because early project renderings did not include the celebrated Googie bowling alley, community members came togther to advocate for preservation alternatives that would retain and incorporate the Mission Hills Bowl building into the new development. 

The Conservancy and our Modern Committee met with members of the development team and community stakeholders, and we believe that a win-win scenario has ultimately been achieved for Mission Hills Bowl and the larger shopping center. 

In December 2015, the City published a proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for the revised project, which includes plans to rehabilitate and adaptively reuse the Mission Hills Bowl building. The Conservancy submitted comments on the MND in support of the project and plan for the historic building. 

The City Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval on March 10, 2016. City Council approved the project on June 14, 2016. 

As a condition of approval, the project applicant will nominate the Mission Hills Bowl building for listing as an Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM). 

In 2014, Mission Hills Bowl was identified as eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the California Register of Historical Resources, and as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument through SurveyLA, the City of Los Angeles’ comprehensive citywide survey of historic resources. The property was determined significant for its distinctive Googie architecture and for its role in the development of the Valley’s commercial and recreational landscape.

The Conservancy's involvement with Mission Hills Bowl dates to early 2009, when participants in our Student Advocates after-school program at the John F. Kennedy High School Architecture and Digital Arts Magnet in Granada Hills conducted research on the property. 

The Conservancy submitted comments on the proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) in January 2016, offering our support for the Olivo Shopping Center project and its plans for the Mission Hills Bowl building. 

We appreciate the applicant's willingness to rehabilitate and revitalize the historic building as part of a sensitive new development. Though early plans called for demolition, we commend their willingness to explore preservation alternatives. 

While certain modifications will be made to the Mission Hills Bowl building in order to adapt it for retail use, we believe that the project meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and that the building will maintain its eligibility as an historic resource. 

As an additional layer of protection, we strongly support the condition to nominate the building for local Historic-Cultural Monument designation.