Statement on Lytton Savings/8150 Sunset State Supreme Court Decision
June 13, 2018—Today, a decision by the Supreme Court of California to deny hearing a petition filed by the Los Angeles Conservancy effectively ends legal efforts to stop the needless demolition of the historic Lytton Savings building (now Chase Bank).
Last month, the Conservancy petitioned the Supreme Court to review the recent Court of Appeal’s decision. That decision overturned the 2017 Los Angeles County Superior Court ruling in favor of the Conservancy and blocked the City of L.A. from demolition.
We respectfully disagree with the Court of Appeal ruling, and believe this case goes to the foundation and intent of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and the need to fully consider and adopt preservation alternatives when feasible.
We were hopeful throughout the process, given the overwhelming evidence supporting our claim that development of the site could move forward without demolition of the historic building. The project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) acknowledged Lytton Savings as a qualified historical resource under CEQA. It identified two feasible preservation alternatives allowing Lytton Savings to be incorporated into the project. And at 20,000 square feet, the Lytton Savings building represents only a small portion of the 330,000-square-foot development planned for the site.
Completed in 1960, Lytton Savings exemplifies a transformative shift in bank design after World War II. As the EIR explains, the bank design “was strategically conceived as a modern multi-media showcase for Modern art, architecture, and interior design … related directly to its Sunset Boulevard context” with a “distinctive folded plate concrete roof.”
It was designed by the late Kurt W. Meyer, a renowned architect devoted to public service and historic preservation. He served as chair of the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, worked with financier Bart Lytton to try and preserve Irving Gill’s Dodge House (ultimately demolished) in West Hollywood, and served on the first advisory council of the Los Angeles Conservancy.
Thank you to all who supported us in this effort, and to the Friends of Lytton Savings and Councilmember David Ryu.