For the second time, the city's Cultural Heritage Commission deadlocked 2 to 2 Wednesday on whether to approve the Chase Knolls Apartments as a Historical-Cultural Monument.
Without a decision, the issue now automatically goes to the Los Angeles City Council, where 10 of 15 members must approve the application for the apartments to be declared a monument.
Councilman Mike Feuer, who rushed to the commission meeting after riding in the Lakers' celebration parade, said he was optimistic that he could muster the votes from his council colleagues. "Any council member who comes to see the site will vote for it," he said. "It will sell them on it."
However, the attorney for Legacy Partners, which bought Chase Knolls in January, was not pleased that Feuer and other speakers attended Wednesday's commission meeting to again voice support for the 1940s-era complex.
"This designation is serious business," said Benjamin Reznik, the attorney for Legacy Partners. "It is not a popularity contest."
Legacy Partners plans to tear down the apartments to build luxury units. Reznik said that although Chase Knolls is an example of modern garden-style apartments, it does not meet any of the standards for historic status.
Ellen Michiel, executive director of the West Valley Community Development Corp., said the residential site represents "the epitome of the planners art." And Kenneth Bernstein, director of preservation issues for the Los Angeles Conservancy, said Chase Knolls needs to meet some, but not all, the requirements for cultural landmark status.
Commission President Catherine Schick and Commissioner Kaye Beckham voted to approve the application; Commissioners Robert Nizich and Holly Wyman voted to deny it. Commissioner Valerie Aronson abstained from the vote, citing a conflict of interest.