The City Council today will take up a motion by Councilman Gil Cedillo to pay more than $4,000 a month for office space in a landmark Highland Park building whose owner got in trouble this summer for violating the city’s historic preservation laws.
Cedillo’s new Highland Park field office will be located on the ground floor of the Highland Park Masonic Temple, an approximately 90-year-old brick building at the corner at the corner of Figueroa Street and Avenue 56 that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In June, city inspectors ordered the owners to stop work on a project that had removed a strip of original, leaded glass at the top of the ground floor windows, according to Patch. For many years, the leaded glass had been covered up by signs until the windows were uncovered during a renovation of the building in the 1980s.
The current building owners told Patch that they replaced the leaded windows with new glass because the old windows were broken and repairing them would have been too costly. But city officials said the owners should have obtained permission to remove the windows since the building is protected by federal and city historic preservation laws.
The building owners said the window replacement had nothing to do with Cedillo’s new field office, which is being relocated from Lincoln Heights. Cedillo’s campaign office was located in the same space.
Cedillo’s staff does not seem to care much about whether the windows are new or old. A story in EGP News said that Cedillo’s staff was working to resolve the issue, which had delayed the move into the new field office.
Meanwhile, in Lincoln Heights, many activists and residents are not happy with Cedillo’s plans to move the field office to Highland Park from their neighborhood, where the office has been located for about 25 years. Cedillo’s staff told EGP News that the new Highland Park field office will have more visibility and easier access. But many Lincoln Heights residents are still upset, said EGP News:
Manny Rodriguez, a lifelong resident of Lincoln Heights, said the field office’s closure was a “bitter blow.”
* Update: The City Council approved Cedillo’s motion to have the city negotiate a lease for the field office.