The City Council has denied a developer's request to remove the Whittier Theatre from its local register of historic buildings. Doerkin Properties Inc. had sought the change in status to assist the owner/developer in moving forward with plans to raze the 61-year-old structure and construct a multimillion-dollar shopping complex.
In June, the State Office of Historic Preservation refused to approve the demolition, citing the building's historic value and community support for saving it. The theater, which lost money in recent years before being closed, was damaged by the October, 1987, Whittier earthquake.
"The problem is between Dr. Doerkin and the state now," said Councilwoman Helen Rahder. Before she was elected to the council, Rahder helped lead a two-year effort to stop the demolition, which ultimately failed in the courts before the state intervened.
Councilman Robert Woehrmann, a past supporter of the demolition, also offered little comfort Tuesday night to attorney Charles Cummings, who represented the developer at the meeting. Woehrmann noted that the council had no process for ruling that a designated historic building was not historic after all.