The Battle Over a Historic L.A. Hotel

Preservationists and developers are deep in a dispute over the Century Plaza hotel in L.A. On the drawing board are two high rise towers, but defenders of the site argue the hotel's historic value trumps the benefit the new project would bring.
July 24, 2009, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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At the forefront of this battle are real estate investor and developer Michael Rosenfeld and actress Diane Keaton, board member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

"The Century Plaza served as a home away from home for President Ronald Reagan and has been the scene of many important entertainment industry events. "We need to honor our city's history more than we need two new towers," Ms. Keaton said.

When he bought the hotel last year, Mr. Rosenfeld seemed to agree that the Century Plaza was special. 'This is a rare opportunity to buy a jewel in my hometown,' he said. 'The Century Plaza has been an L.A. icon since it opened in 1966.'

But in the wake of Ms. Keaton's news conference, his company issued a terse statement, saying it was 'disappointed to see the Century Plaza Hotel politicized in this way, particularly at a time when the city of Los Angeles is suffering from extreme economic hardship and is in dire need of new jobs.' It added, 'This is not considered one of the more significant Minoru Yamasaki buildings and is not characteristic of his style."

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Published on Thursday, July 23, 2009 in The New York Times
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