Los Angeles Business Journal

No Reservations on Century Plaza

By Charles Crumpley Monday, September 3, 2012

Now that’s more like it.

I’m referring to the new plan by Michael Rosenfeld to keep the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel. (See the centerpiece article on page 1.)

You might recall that Rosenfeld and his development company rolled out a plan a few years ago that – incredibly – called for razing the graceful hotel and replacing it with two 50-story towers.

More towers are not what the area needs. From a distance, Century City already looks like a patch of porcupine.

But even worse was the idea of scraping the hotel. For one thing, it was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, who famously created New York’s World Trade Center towers as well as the Century Plaza Towers, the graceful twin triangular buildings east of the hotel.

For another, the hotel has some nice history, what with all manner of special events held there and its association with important people, especially President Reagan.

But more than that, it is a beautiful building – elegant yet sturdy, simple yet interesting. It’s iconic of Century City for a reason.

I wrote in January 2009 that, “I hope Rosenfeld and his partners wake up one morning, slap their foreheads and remember that they do, in fact, own a jewel. And that realization would burden them with the sense of civic duty – the one that calls on people to do the right thing by the community.”

Well, I must admit that it appears they’ve done right by the community. The new plan calls for renovating the hotel pretty thoroughly, but the important thing is that they are keeping it intact.

It calls for two somewhat shorter towers (46 floors instead of 50) behind the hotel. Oh, sure, architectural purists probably won’t like the new twins jutting up behind the 1960s-era structure, but it appears to be a decent compromise. The developers get more density on their property and the community will get less traffic because the new plan eliminated office space. What’s more, the rest of us get to continue enjoying the hotel, even if the porcupine effect is exacerbated.

All in all, this is a good compromise.

Linda Dishman, the head of the Los Angeles Conservancy, put it nicely:

“They’ve shown vision and creativity in revising their project in a way that not only saves the historic hotel building, but celebrates it as its centerpiece.”

• • •

If you follow local stocks much, you probably know that Amgen Inc. has been a laggard for a long time. For the better part of a decade, the price has languished in the $50s.

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