Union Bank Square | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine

Union Bank Square

Good news! On February 26, 2020, the City Council voted in support, making this the first Downtown skyscraper to be designated a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM).

Completed in 1967 and designed by the New York-based firm Harrison & Abramovitz in conjunction with Los Angeles-based A.C. Martin & Associates, Union Bank Square is on the western edge of Bunker Hill. At the base of the 40-story office the tower sits a landscaped plaza designed by modernist landscape architect Garrett Eckbo of Eckbo, Dean, Austin & Williams. Designed in the Corporate International style, Union Bank Square is significant for its architecture and its status as the first building completed in the Bunker Hill Urban Renewal Project.

A recent proposal announcing a $20 million renovation had sparked concerns about the future of Union Bank Square, especially the landscaped plaza feature. In response, The Cultural Landscape Foundation included Union Bank Square as part of their endangered Landslide feature.

In July 2019, the Conservancy submitted an application to designate the tower and plaza a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM). If designated, Union Bank Plaza will be the first skyscraper in Los Angeles to be awarded HCM Status.

On August 15, 2019, the Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) voted in support to take the HCM nomination under consideration. In December 2019, the CHC voted in full support to recommend the designation of Union Bank Square as an HCM. Next, it will go to the full City Council on February 26 for a final vote.  

We worked closely with the building owner, KBS Realty, and they did not oppose the nomination of this significant place.

Developed by Connecticut Life Insurance Company in 1965 and completed in 1967, Union Bank Square became the first completed project within the Bunker Hill Urban Renewal area. The office tower is significant for tower design in the Corporate International style and the surrounding Modernist landscape architecture. Three principal components comprise the property, these include a two-story base (commercial court & parking garage), a landscaped plaza atop, and a 40-story office tower rising above.  

The Los Angeles Conservancy believes Union Bank Square to be a significant historic resource. Following recent renovation news, the Conservancy submitted a Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) application in June 2019.