Echo Park’s Taix redevelopment project clears a final hurdle

Los Angeles City Council has cleared one of the final hurdles in the controversial redevelopment of French restaurant Taix, voting unanimously to reject an appeal by a group trying to preserve the building of longtime restaurant Echo Park.

The appeal could have delayed the redevelopment of the old-school restaurant, known for its soup tureen and lounge full of Dodgers fans after games. Holland Partner Group, a Vancouver, Washington developer, plans to replace the restaurant with a modern six-story building containing 166 residential units, two dozen of which would be affordable for low-income households. The building would also house a scaled down version of the Taix restaurant.

The redevelopment proposal has alarmed local preservationists, who say the beloved building, which has been a staple of Sunset Boulevard since the 1960s, has historic significance.

The Taix restaurant building on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park

The Taix restaurant building on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park would be demolished to make way for a mixed-use development that would include a plaza for the restaurant.

(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

The Silver Lake Heritage Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to conservation, has been one of the most vocal. In October, the nonprofit filed an appeal with the city, arguing that various permits the developer had been granted — including a densification increase — should be revoked because the project had gone through a lax environmental assessment process.

The council rejected the appeal on Friday, sparing Holland Partner Group from going back to the drawing board on some parts of the project.

The restaurant’s owner, Michael Taix, has supported the redevelopment, saying the current building is too large and expensive to operate. Taix welcomed the council’s decision in a statement by Holland Partner Group on Friday.

“My family is grateful to the LA community and city council for the broad support of Taix,” he said. “…We hope that construction can begin without undue delay as it is crucial that we can move our operations to the new building in time to preserve the jobs of our staff and allow our restaurant to continue operations at a more efficient and suitable place.”

The city council essentially approved the project with the vote on Friday. Holland Partner Group had achieved another victory in June 2021 when the city council voted to recognize only parts of the restaurant as a historical monument. The historical designation included the bar top and two red and white signs on the outside of the building. The council did not extend the historical designation to the building itself, which would have complicated the developer’s efforts to demolish it.

The idea of ​​designating certain elements of the restaurant historic, the idea of ​​Councilor Mitch O’Farrell, disappointed some preservationists, who said the city was setting a dangerous precedent by prying off sections of significant buildings to preserve and scrap the rest .

“What they are proposing is a salvage operation. They propose tearing down and salvaging three items to be glued into the new structure,” said Carol Cetrone, President of the Silver Lake Heritage Trust. “We claim that this is not a preservation.”

The Trust has no plans to appeal the city’s decision.

separately a legal action The complaint filed by the group in 2021 against the city’s decision to go ahead with the project is due to go to trial on February 9, according to attorney Frank Angel representing the trust. The lawsuit alleges that the city council was overly accommodating to developers and ignored the “procedural safeguards” that govern the designation of historic monuments in Los Angeles. Echo Park’s Taix redevelopment project clears a final hurdle

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