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The Herald Examiner: A Landmark Waiting for Its Day

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Friday, July 06, 2007, at 08:44AM
Herald Examiner Press Building Eric Richardson [Flickr]

When the Herald Examiner closed in 1989, the paper's ornate headquarters at 11th and Hill were silenced as well. It seemed clear that a building of that caliber would not stay empty for long, and 2002 restoration plans would have made the Mission Style revival building an elegant leader of Downtown's revitalization.

The Julia Morgan design jewel that opened as the Los Angeles Examiner Building in 1914 is still waiting for its restoration. The only work on site has been the demolition of the 1948 Press Building, designed by much lesser known William J. Hieser.

site over view

The press building lot once had an "oil and gas" station that was later redeveloped into a newsprint paper storage area. Later the basement was extended under the parking lot on the building's northern end. Over time the major alterations caused the building to lose any historical significance.

In listing the reasons why it wasn't a problem for the building to come down, the project's Environmental Impact Report also listed filming operations as a major agent of change. Sets and props as well as interior partitions are credited to the building's recent past as a film shoot locale.

HeraldExaminer1HeraldExaminer2

The press building's demolition now makes room for one of two proposed towers to be designed by architect Thom Mayne. According to Downtown News, past partner Urban Partners are out and the Hearst Corporation is taking the project on its own. Mayne, who designed the controversial but lauded Caltrans building, is still attached; but rumors fly that the residential towers are on hold.

Day Shot

The development is marked as three separate locations. The "Broadway" site holds the City and State landmarked Herald Examiner building. The Hill Street site at West 12th St and South Hill is where the press building has stood and will be the location for the smaller of the two towers, a 23-story, 256 unit mixed use building. The other tower would rise on a parking lot just south of the parcel at West 12th St, between Broadway and Main, and would rival the 33-story SBC Tower with its proposed 37 stories and 319 units.

It seems a world away, but the Herald Examiner building's 100th birthday comes up in just seven years. One would hope that even with the sluggish pace this project has had so far it'll be completed in time to welcome in her centennial in style.

Diagrams from the Herald Examiner EIR document. Top photo by Eric Richardson. Bottom photo by Ed Fuentes.

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