With a 14-0 vote, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously earlier this month to grant landmark status to the Barry Building. The San Vicente Boulevard building is home to Dutton’s Brentwood Books, one of the most celebrated bookstores in Los Angeles.
With landmark status, the Barry Building is now protected by the City from demolition for a period of 180 days. During the 180-day period the building’s owner, billionaire Charles T. Munger, and Brentwood residents could attempt to work out a compromise to preserve the building. Should Munger request a demolition permit, an environmental review process would be required.
Architect Diane Caughey led the effort to obtain historic-cultural status for the building which was designed by her late father, architect Milton Caughey. She said that Friends of the Barry Building are “now waiting to see Munger offer a concrete plan for the building…We are pleased that Mr. Munger has chosen not to oppose the designation of the Barry Building as an historic monument. We look forward to working with him to find a wonderful solution to integrating the building as a historic piece of Brentwood history.”
Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl delivered a powerful speech asking his council colleagues for unanimous support in favor of the Barry Building’s designation. Rosendahl said that in addition to a unanimous vote for designation by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission, the designation was supported by City agencies as well as many Brentwood community groups and 1,000 local residents. Rosendahl said: “This is an extraordinary level of commitment and support from my constituents to preserve this outstanding architectural gem…The Barry Building is a rare and excellent example of mid-century modern architecture in a commercial structure.”
Property owner Munger has been working with local retail specialist Jim Rosenfield, who preserved the Brentwood County Mart and the Aero Theater, and top preservationist architect Hans Baldauf, designer of the San Francisco Ferry Building and Marketplace, to develop architectural solutions. Architectural schemes that renovate and integrate the historic California Moder style Barry Building with a new compatible retail project are being developed. Once a specific plan has been submitted to the City, a CEQA environmental review process will go into effect and the 180-day period of review and community input will commence.
According to Caughey, the Friends of the Barry Building are “looking forward to working with Mr. Munger and his excellent team, the LA City Planning division, and Councilman Rosendahl to find a mutual solution to preserving the Barry Building, respecting community needs, and keeping Dutton’s Books all within a vibrant and successful new retail development project on San Vicente. Such a mutual solution would be a gift to Brentwood. This is a win, win, win, win.”