Rendering: Togawa Smith Martin

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to designate parts of Taix French Restaurant as a historic-cultural landmark but stopped short of protecting the entire building from demolition.

In the year since a development proposal was put forth for the site of the storied Echo Park eatery, calling for 170 apartments and 13,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, a preservation battle has been waged between longtime patrons seeking to preserve the Normandy-inspired building and the restaurant’s owner, Michael Taix, who sold the property to Holland Partner Group in July 2019 due to declining profits.

Image: Google

The conflict came to a head this week when it was decided that only the site, wooden bartop and outdoor signage would earn landmark designation. Following the vote, L.A. Conservancy wrote on Twitter that the nomination “single-handedly devalues the city’s nearly 60-year-old preservation program.” The nonprofit labeled the move “architectural salvage, not preservation,” arguing that protecting the site rather than the building sets a dangerous precedent for future historic nomination cases. 

Built in 1962, the one-story building at 1911 Sunset Boulevard is actually the second iteration of the family-owned restaurant. The original opened in 1927 and was located in downtown Los Angeles. Owner Michael Taix has emphasized the need for a smaller footprint to keep his restaurant afloat, calling the existing building “mega-sized, grossly energy-inefficient [and] outdated” during a Cultural Heritage Commission meeting on December 17.

Rendering: Togawa Smith Martin

Holland Partner Group’s proposal includes a smaller version of Taix on the ground floor along with three other commercial spaces. Envisioned by architecture firm Togawa Smith Martin, the project underwent a redesign last fall following harsh criticism of the boxy, modern silhouette. 

The updated design, referred to as Taix on Sunset, is more traditional, consisting of two, five- and six-story buildings with wrought iron balcony railings and pickets, gray brick and painted stucco siding, and arched, factory-style storefront windows. Breezeways would connect the two structures and a curved bridge would define the entryway to the public paseo containing outdoor seating for Taix diners.

Rendering: Togawa Smith Martin

Another development proposal was submitted by Holland Partner Group for Taix’s overflow parking lot last June, described as a “49-unit multi-family residential building,” according to a project summary document.

Wednesday’s Los Angeles City Council vote doesn’t greenlight Taix on Sunset — it must gain further city approvals and undergo additional public hearings before a final decision is made.

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