Good news! The Los Angeles City Council voted to designate the Singleton Estate as a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) on April 20, 2016. This significant property now has protection from demolition and inappropriate alterations.
Thank you to all of the residents of Holmby Hills who have come out in support of the nomination and to Councilmember Paul Koretz for his strong support and leadership on this matter.
Located on a seven-acre site in Holmby Hills, the 1970 Singleton Estate is the largest and last major work of master architect Wallace Neff and features sweeping landscapes designed by Thomas Church and Philip Shipley.
The Singleton Estate is significant for its association with Dr. Henry E. Singleton, co-founder and CEO of Teledyne, Inc., one of the nation's largest conglomerates. It is also an excellent example of the New Traditional French style and a significant work by three master architects and designers.
On January 7, 2016 the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) unanimously voted to recommend approval of the HCM nomination, following an affirmative final staff report. City Council's Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee also voted in support of designation on April 19, 2016.
The Conservancy also attended and spoke at a CHC meeting on April 7, during which the property owner and project team presented a proposal for new construction on the site. We will continue to work with the owner and his team, in collaboration with the Office of Historic Resources, to review and comment on the project.
The Conservancy first began monitoring the Singleton Estate when, in the spring of 2014, the property was listed on the market without any safeguards to ensure its protection or preservation. Upon learning of the potential sale, we submitted a letter to the listing agents, notifying them of the significance of the property.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the property had sold in April 2015. At times of transition and a change of a longtime owner, large, multi-acre properties are often threatened with demolition, land subdivision, and unsympathetic alterations.
Believing that the residence and designed landscapes could be at risk, we originally nominated the Singleton Estate for HCM designation in April 2015.
During its July 16th meeting, the CHC voted not to recommend designation to City Council, citing a lack of information due to their inability to tour and have access to the Singleton House property before considering the Conservancy's nomination. The recommendation from staff supported the HCM nomination, citing the property met three out of the four required criteria for local landmark designation.
We disagreed with statements made that contradict the record and research regarding the significance of the Singleton House, Wallace Neff, and landscape architects and designers Thomas Church and Phillip Shipley.
With additional research and findings supporting the property's eligibility for designation, we resubmitted a revised HCM nomination in September 2015. This application was ultimately successful, and City Council formally designated the property in April 2016.
The Conservancy is pleased to report that the Singleton Estate has been designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM). It meets the criteria for designation because:
It is identified with Dr. Henry E. Singleton, a pioneering engineer and mathematician who was responsible for spearheading one of the largest conglomerates in the United States;
It is an excellent example of the French Revival style, built to suit the needs and desires of the clients; and
It is a notable work of master architects Wallace Neff, Thomas Church, and Philip Shipley, representing a significant commission in each of their careers.
With the HCM designation in place, the Singleton Estate now has important protection from demolition or inappropriate alteration. The property owner has proposed incorporating new construction along the outer edges of the estate, which would preserve the main house and significant landscape elements. We believe that the preliminary plans respect the property's historic fabric, and we will continue to work with the project team and the Office of Historic Resources to review and comment on the proposal.