BEL AIR—On Tuesday, April 4, the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) denied a Bel Air home from becoming a historic landmark. The home is located at 11100 West Chalon Roa.
The home was designed by Los Angeles architect Wallace Neff, who is known for his Period Revival-style residences. He has designed homes for Hollywood stars, such as Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn, the Marx Brothers, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks. The Pickfair Estate, which Neff designed for Pickford and Fairbanks in 1919, was demolished in 1990.
“On November 22, 2016, the City Council instructed the Department of City Planning to initiate Historic-Cultural Monument designation proceedings for the Dr. and Mrs. Burton L. Fletcher Residence (CF-16-1316). On February 2, 2017, at a public hearing on the matter, the Commission determined that this property does not conform with the definition of a Monument pursuant to Los Angeles Administrative Code (LAAC) Section 22.171.7 by a vote of 4-1. Therefore, the request for designation as a Historic-Cultural Monument has been declined. This letter supersedes the determination letter issued by the Cultural Heritage Commission on February 8, 2017,” states a press release from the Los Angeles City Council from February 2017.
The LA Conservancy noted, the French Revival-themed home was built in 1963 with neatly manicured grounds and a Regency-style interior. At the time, it was considered to be at odds with the modern aesthetic taking over Los Angeles. The structure is a resemblance of the Golden Age of Hollywood and of Neff’s career, according to Curbed.com.
The home’s nomination for historic status was brought on by Councilmember Paul Koretz, who represents the Bel Air region. Koretz urged the council to take “immediate action” once it was discovered that the home’s owner was planning to demolish the home.
Although Koretz called the home “an architectural treasure,” he will respect the decision of the Cultural Heritage Commission, according to a representative from the PLUM Committee. The current home is expected to be reconstructed with a new two-story home.
This is the second time in recent months that City Council members have attempted to turn threatened homes into landmarks. In September 2016, Councilmember David Ryu fought to save Bob Hope’s Toluca Lake estate. The Cultural Heritage Commission denied the application after finding the home lost its architectural significance.