Preservation Watch 2: Last Day for Decision on Googie Favorites Johnie’s and Shoppers Market?

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Two “Googie”-style buildings in L.A. are at risk of demolition.

The Los Angeles Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM)  of the Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to meet at 2:30 p.m. November 5th, in room 350 of City Hall, to discuss efforts to protect the “Googie”-style exterior of Superior Market (known locally by its original name Shoppers Market) on Figueroa and Avenue 45 in Highland Park. Also on the agenda is Johnies Coffee Shop at 3183 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles. This Miracle Mile staple is facing the last day for City Council act on the list of Historic Cultural Monuments. Angelenos  are encouraged to attend the meeting and make their  voice heard about preserving these local landmarks.

The Shoppers Market

Built in 1960, the nearly 34,000-square foot building (above) was designed by architect Ronald Cleveland. Its current operator Superior Grocers has proposed a renovation of the mid-century Shoppers Market grocery store that would remove many of its beloved “Googie”  features. Highland Park Heritage Trust  is the squeaky wheel that gets things done as they did in 2009 to save the 1967 Safeway’s “Marina prototype” storeson York Ave. You bet they will be in attendance.johnies1

Johnie’s Coffee Shop

We have all driven by it, or you know it from some of the most iconic films: The Big Lebowski, Miracle Mile,  and Volcano to name a few. Johnie’s was designed by famed “Googie” architects Louis Armet and Eldon Davis of Armet and Davis.After it was bought by the founders of the 99 Cent Stores, Johnie’s closed in 2000 and stopped serving its wonderful pancakes. Now it is rented out for film shoots. The 99 Cents Only Stores have no plans to open this icon up again so it is quite possible we could lose this brilliant example of Googie Architecture. Preservationists believe it is time to make Johnie’s an Historic Landmark.

UPDATE: City Councilman Gil Cedillo Has No Love For Googie

Yesterday afternoon Eastsider LA wrote,  “saying he was ‘unencumbered by the past,’ Councilman Gil Cedillo came out against declaring Highland Park’s Superior Market, a city historic landmark.

Superior Grocer’s proposed revamp would alter the store’s facade of broad windows and swooping arches. But Cedillo, whose opposition will be hard to overcome, said he had to look beyond the concerns of preservationists.

Siding with the property owner and market operator, Cedillo, during a meeting of the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee, recommended against the landmark nomination. He referred to previous agreements that the remodeling and redevelopment of the market “would  not be deterred  by legitimate  preservation concerns.”

Susan Levinstein, whose father was the original landowner of the building, said the landmark nomination would only interfere with the building’s original, intended use as a local market – not a historic landmark. ‘The preservationists will have preserved nothing,’ she said.”

The matter now heads to final vote before the full City Council.