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Taix Got Tagged... and the new apartments might not be happening!


Gentle reader,

On Friday, photographer Gary Leonard shared a shocking image from the corner of Sunset and Park Avenue in Echo Park: the tall bougainvillea hedges in front of Taix French Restaurant had been ripped out, and a drippy painted mural scrawled across the building’s facade.

So after Saturday’s Angelino Heights & Carroll Avenue walking tour, we cruised over to see for ourselves, then filed a complaint with LADBS, since this is an illegal sign installed without a permit. And because Taix is a city landmark, we also alerted the Office of Historic Resources and asked that OHR staff and the Cultural Heritage Commission weigh in and compel the property owner to remove it.

We also checked in with our preservation pals at Silver Lake Heritage Trust about the status of their ongoing legal battle to reverse former councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s demented rewriting of their Taix landmark nomination.

When a crooked councilman rewrote our Los Angeles Times HQ landmark, confessed racketeer Jose Huizar simply erased one of the buildings entirely, making it easier to redevelop the block.

But as described in Let's Talk Taix: The Most Interesting Historic Preservation Battle in a Generation, Mitch O’Farrell chose to reduce everything special about Taix down to a neon sign, a billboard and a chunk taken out of the old bar, while claiming he was protecting a “Legacy Business”—something that did not then exist in the Los Angeles city code!

And he might have gotten away with it, except that Silver Lake Heritage Trust obtained smoking gun emails that show high ranking Los Angeles City Planning Department and Los Angeles City Attorney’s office staff conspiring with Taix’ out of state developer and consultants to falsely maintain that Taix was not an historic resource, all so that after some staged public hearings, the huge new project would not be subject to the appropriate environmental review!

Deputy City Attorney Kimberly Huangfu’s 2021 email to Lisa Webber (Deputy Director of Project Planning), Heather Bleemers (Senior City Planner) and Oliver Netburn (City Planner) about keeping Taix discussions a secret from the public.

These emails, among many other damning documents, will soon be in the hands of an appeals court judge who may well determine that Taix should not have been “landmarked” as bits of salvaged scrap, but in fact.

And if as we sincerely hope Taix gets its real city landmark status back, there will be a chance for this iconic Echo Park property to be redeveloped in a more thoughtful and respectful way, one that preserves the historic restaurant and community space, while adding new housing around and perhaps above the existing building.

That’s the sort of reinvention of Taix that people who love Los Angeles can get behind.

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But a recently filed (though not approved) demolition permit raises serious questions about if Holland Partner Group actually plans to build its massive market rate apartment development at all. Holland states that it want to “demo the restaurant, clear curbs, planters, shrubs, etc.... [but] intend[s] to keep the basement in place as is. The Basemen[t] will be addressed in the shoring plans.”

We’re not builders, but we are historians of redevelopment. And we know that in the past, when L.A. property owners wanted to cheaply get rid of an inconvenient building, they would leave the basement untouched, and often fill it with rubble from the building above, then pave over the parcel and have a lucrative surface parking lot until they got around to developing the land—sometimes decades later, sometimes never.

We cannot know if this is what Holland Partner Group intends, but there have been a number of recent high profile development projects that proved to be baloney after the city granted the necessary upzoning entitlements. The most notorious of these is the fake Frank Gehry tower at the other end of Sunset Boulevard, for which the landmark Lytton Savings was demolished, leaving a vacant lot that’s now languishing on the market.

Taix French Restaurant deserves better than wanton destruction and greedy speculation. It deserves to find a new owner who lives in Los Angeles—Mike Taix moved to Utah before he sold the building in an off-market deal—and who sees its potential to make Angelenos happy for generations to come.

If you’re upset by the disrespect shown to Taix and to Angelenos by City Planners and Deputy City Attorneys sneaking around to help out of state developers tear down our landmarks, please consider supporting Silver Lake Heritage Trust in their appeal. If you don’t have money to spare, please just share this link. It’s hard to get good information about why Los Angeles is so screwed up, and more people should know about the criminal activity still happening in City Hall.

Update 9/27/23: Concerned community member Mike Callahan (Hollywood Heritage) was driving by Taix today and caught a worker in the act of adding more words to the unpermitted mural that is still under investigation. It now says TAIX FRENCH RESTAURANT across the facade. It is not legal to paint a business sign without a permit, especially not when the building is a landmark! What’s next, a portrait of Pepé Le Pew?!

Update 10/3/23: Emma Howard, Community Development & Planning Director for CD11 forwards a message from LADBS: “One of my inspectors was able to go by the site yesterday. We issued a Notice of Code Violation for the painted wall sign. We did not see any other sign violations at the time of inspection. You can track the progress here.”

We followed up with Office of Historic Resources, alerting them to the code violation, and noting: “Recently the word TAIX, followed by the words FRENCH RESTAURANT were hand painted in the form of supergraphics on the facade of Taix at 1911 W Sunset (HCM #1227). To accomplish this, three tall bougainvillea hedges between the crosswalk and the tower were first cut down, and the green Norman half timbering called out as a character defining feature in the HCM nomination was painted white.... [We] hope that your office can assist in the return of the Taix facade to its appearance before the supergraphic mural was installed. The half timbering looks all wrong painted white, and the birds miss their hedges.”

Update 10/24/23: Concerned community member Jackelyn captured workers painting over the unpermitted letters on the landmarked Taix facade. The building looks so much better already, and we hope they have enough green paint to restore the half Tudor beams to their proper contrasting appearance.

Update 10/26/23: LADBS inspector Mike Wang deems Taix to be in compliance and the code violation is closed. It’s rare to see “date in compliance” on any LADBS complaint—more often they are closed out despite not being resolved, kicked to another department or just left open. The community did this—thanks to all who spoke up!

We’re back on the bus on Saturday for a tour that celebrates the novelist, poet and essayist Charles Bukowski, and the community of day drunks and struggling artists who were a part of his artist’s journey, from the burlesque houses of Main Street to Wanda’s apartment from Barfly and to the East Hollywood bungalow court that is a landmark and a lesson in how the city fails the Bukowskis of today. Join us, do!

yours for Los Angeles,

Kim & Richard


Psst… If you’d like to support our efforts to be the voice of places worth preserving, we have a tip jar and a subscriber edition of this newsletter, vintage Los Angeles webinars available to stream, in-person tours and a souvenir shop you can browse in. We’ve also got recommended reading bookshelves on Amazon and the Bookshop indie bookstore site. Or just share this link with other people who care.

Tour Gift Certificates


Charles Bukowski’s Los Angeles Bus Tour (Sat. 8/12) • Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice Crime Bus Tour (Sat. 8/26) • Pasadena Confidential Crime Bus Tour (Sat. 9/9) • Franklin Village Old Hollywood Walking Tour (Sat. 9/16) • University Park Walking Tour (Sat. 9/23) • Weird West Adams Crime Bus Tour (Sat. 9/30) • Eastside Babylon Crime Bus Tour (Sat. 10/14) • The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain’s Southern California Nightmare Bus Tour (Sat. 10/21) • The Real Black Dahlia Crime Bus Tour (Sat. 10/28) • Evergreen Cemetery, 1877 Walking Tour (Sun. 10/29)


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News from Esotouric's Secret Los Angeles
News from Esotouric's Secret Los Angeles
Esotouric's Secret Los Angeles