Century Plaza Hotel to be Preserved as Historic Cultural Monument

Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles has been nominated as a Historic Cultural Monument. The building’s owner, Next Century Associates, filed the nomination for the designation of the famed hotel. The 19-story hotel serves as the centerpiece of a 1.5 million square foot mixed use development plan approved by the City Council in January of this year.

“The hotel’s designation will forever affirm the collaborative efforts of the City, the developer, and the preservation community in protecting an important icon as the cornerstone of a new vibrant mixed use community,” said Michael Rosenfeld of Next Century Associates.

Councilmember Paul Koretz added, “The Century Plaza has extraordinary architectural design and historical value, plus it is an economic engine for our Westside and an essential part of our city’s social fabric. I very much want to salute the Century Plaza team for demonstrating truly great wisdom, flexibility and civic patriotism in seeking and embracing historical resource status.”

Completed in 1966, the existing 19-story, 726-room hotel with its sweeping curved facade has been a gathering place for celebrities, politicians and world dignitaries. The hotel was designed by architect and engineer Minoru Yamasaki, who was also the architect of Century City’s Theme Towers and New York’s World Trade Center towers.

In 1961, developer William Zeckendorf and Alcoa bought about 180 acres from 20th Century Fox after the studio had suffered a string of expensive flops, culminating in the box-office disaster Cleopatra. The new owners conceived Century City as “a city within a city” with the hotle its centerpiece.

The hotel opened in 1966 and dominated the area for much of its early history, as it was the highest building on the hill, where the Presidential Suite looked all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

For its entire history, the Century Plaza had been managed by Western International Hotel, which became Westin hotels. However, in 2006, the property was taken over by the Hyatt brand and is currently a Hyatt Regency. However, the sign above the main entrance still reads Century Plaza Hotel.

In 2008, Next Century Associates bought the Century Plaza Hotel from Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. for $366.5 million. The sale price of $505,000 per room is one of the highest-paid for a hotel in California. That same year Next Century Associates announced plans to demolish the hotel and build a pair of fifty-story towers in its place. Soon thereafter the hotel was added to The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of the 11 most endangered historic places in America in 2009 and the owners announced that the building would be preserved.

Photo credit: Andrew Hara