Mabel Normand Studio Bungalow at Sunset Junction Demolished... Los Angeles can, and must, do better.


Gentle reader,

Thank you to our dedicated followers who took the time on this rainy ides of March day to send messages to Sunset Gateway developer Frost/Chaddock urging a preservation solution to the planned demolition of the time capsule early motion industry bungalow at Bates and Effie.

Sadly, when our preservation pal Brett Loudermilk went over to see the house this morning, he found a pile of rubble.

Somewhere in that mess is the severed ceramic head of an Egyptian goddess that was guarding the porch.

Los Angeles has allowed developers to ruin our neighborhoods, displace our friends, destroy our landmarks, hoard useful housing and retail and event space vacant for years for nebulous purposes of tax avoidance and otherwise screw everything up. It needs to stop.

Mabel Normand’s Studio Bungalow is dead and bleeding lead paint dust in the rain. But looking at the ruin left behind by the wreckers, we see a rainbow of possibility.

San Antonio, Texas recently implemented a progressive ordinance that states when an historic building is slated for demolition, it must be salvaged for useful materials. This policy keeps toxic dust out of the air, avoids truck trips to distant landfill and preserves the high quality materials that you cannot buy new for reuse in new local projects.

Elected and appointed officials in Los Angeles talk a lot about environmental justice and equity, but in San Antonio, they’re actually doing something concrete to turn old buildings into new opportunities. We don’t like to see good buildings demolished, but sometimes they’re just going to come down. A deconstruction ordinance like San Antonio’s would change the way Angelenos and developers think about our built environment and let something good come out of the losses we all suffer.

So let’s mourn Mabel’s pretty bungalow, and let’s stay mad. But let’s also think strategically about public policies that could have saved 4300 West Effie from this wasteful and tragic end, and let’s set out to get them implemented. That’s our plan, and we hope you’ll join us.

yours for Los Angeles,

Kim & Richard


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