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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Councilman Cedillo opposes landmark nomination for Highland Park market

By Nathan Solis & Jesus Sanchez

Saying he was “unencumbered by the past,” Councilman Gil Cedillo today came out against declaring Highland Park’s Superior Market, considered a prime example of mid-century “Googie” style architecture, a city historic landmark.

City staff, the Cultural Heritage Commission as well as two neighborhood councils had supported declaring the Figueroa Street market a cultural  historic landmark, which would help protect the building’s exterior from changes that would impact its historic character.  Superior Grocer’s proposed revamp would alter the store’s facade of broad windows and swooping arches.  But Cedillo, whose opposition will be hard to overcome, said he had to look beyond the concerns of preservationists.

Siding with the property owner and market operator,  Cedillo, during a meeting of the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee,  recommended against the landmark nomination. He referred  to previous agreements  that the remodeling and redevelopment of the market “would  not be deterred  by legitimate  preservation concerns.”

“I have to look for the entire the community … and look at what their needs are,” said Cedillo, referring to economic development, jobs and access to food. At one point, he referred to Highland Park as as “food desert.”

Susan Levinstein, whose father was the original landowner of the building, said the landmark nomination would only interfere with the building’s original, intended use as a local market – not a historic landmark. “The preservationists will have preserved nothing,” she said.

The matter now heads to final vote before the full City Council.

There are not many stand-out examples of mid-century modern buildings in the Highland Park area.  Built in 1960, the nearly 34,000-square foot supermarket building was designed by architect Ronald Cleveland, who worked on more than 100 supermarkets, in what some refer to as the  Googie Style of architecture, which was popular among the builders of coffee shops and other commercial buildings of the era.

Charles Fisher, who heads the neighborhood historic district and filed the landmark nomination, said his goal was not to undermine Superior’s operation. “It was never my intention to nominate this building to disrupt their business. They really left us no other options.”

Antonio Castillo, President of the Highland Park Heritage Trust, which supported the nominations, said Cedillo’s decision was purely political.”He went the bureaucratic route in his decision, ignoring the historical, architectural and the significance it has with the community. It was basic politics.”

84 comments

  1. How much is the property owner paying Cedilla to oppose the nomination?

    • If this is a sign what to expect from this guy then HP is in trouble!

    • Cedillo is not worthy of being a “councilmember!” “The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.” Great men do Great things humbly for the betterment of the people you serve!
      Cedillo what will you be known for? What legacy will you leave your children’s children? SHAME – SHAME on you and anyone who serves your administration.

    • This should come as a surprise to no one. Cedillo can be counted on for one thing: doing the bidding of the unions who paid for his election.

  2. Good for him. There is absolutely nothing special about buildings thrown up in the 1960′s. This isn’t Mesopotamia. The various ‘stakeholders’ with no actual interest but just want to enforce their will on the area should not be able to tell a property owner what to do with his property.

    • Your mindset is the exact same mindset Angelenos had in the 50s and 60s when the grand Victorian homes on Bunker Hill were demolished — or really when any perfectly usable building from the turn of the century was demolished for the sake of something “modern.” Back then, the 1920s and 1920s weren’t all that far in the past. Now? I know for a fact that a lot of this city’s residents wish we still had those old structures. Just compare LA to San Francisco, New York, Chicago or Boston. They have us beat in the historic preservation department. It’s absolutely deplorable.

      Whether you agree with it or not, mid-century modernism is definitely an architectural style worth preserving — especially since MCM was extensively developed right here in Southern California. Superior isn’t the right entity to judge whether or not this building is “worth” saving. We don’t need more prefab, monotone, faux-Craftsman crap in LA; we need to save what we have left of our past before it goes the way of Bunker Hill. Get it?

      • HERE HERE!! I second that. This isn’t about stopping all advancement, this is about preserving what we can in a city where everything with history has been thrown away. It sounds like the only thing that is being asked for is keeping the original facade, redo everything else!

        • preservation patriot

          Correct. But that has no interest for Gil Cedillo. He follows the money train, and I’m sure he will benefit financially from the developer. As for the owner, the silly goose stated that she lives in a Lautner house, and sounded like she thought the market was a Lautner design. She claimed that Lautner would have wanted it remodeled. Cedillo must go! He is as crooked as a snake. His son is under indictment from the FBI for corruption. Enough said.

      • Is it accurate to lump in Googie and Mid-Century Modern as a single style? I don’t think that a house by Neutra and a classic ’50s diner are really the same thing at all. It’s worth preserving some of each, but it doesn’t help matters to confuse the different styles. Googie is always going to have a higher hurdle to clear, because it was normally used for cheap corporate mass-market buildings, while MCM was often used for high-end homes.

      • preservation patriot

        You are not getting it. Cedillo is a racist, and will do everything he can to undermine gentrification. MCM= gringos.

      • If I wanted my surroundings to be nothing but boring, brand new stucco buildings, I’d move to Orange County. Preserve Superior.

      • Neighborhood Character counts! There are plenty of ways to preserve landmark structures while pursuing infill, its just that its easier for the developer to raze it all and start from scratch. They have shut us out, and we say nothing. We elect them even while they silence us.

        SPEAK UP!!! COME TO THE MEETINGS!! Organize your hood.

        IN Echo Park we have 1000 signatures to “re-design according to the Community Plan” an ORSINI-style tower of 214 units, proposed for Echo Park on Sunset Blvd. next to Guisados. 40 local businesses have also signed, asking to MAKE IT SMALLER! 45 ft. is the max height. Somehow they are getting 70. We have asked multiple times for a meeting with Cedillo or Arturo– No Dice.

        “Unencumbered by history” sums it up. CD 1 is facilitating a 70 foot tall “Berlin Wall” apartment tower that spans 3 blocks of the Angelino Heights tract. They are bringing Wilshire style towers to Echo Park, cutting straight through the middle of hillside historic districts.

        Concurrently, Palmer is building another “fortress” at 6 blocks away at Beaudry and Temple; 1000 more units. All the while, his neighboring half-vacant “ORSINI” is plagued with crime, bedbugs and party people– and now rents to Section 8! Quite ironic after his legal battle to keep low-income out of his units.

        BEWARE of the promises. Get involved. What if they build it and nobody comes?

        http://www.WeAreEchoPark.com Sign the petition. JOIN the neighborhood movement!

  3. I am curious how Cedillo believes that the needs of the neighborhood would specifically not be met if the facade of the supermarket were left intact. Preserving the facade doesn’t impact the food being sold, in reference to the “food desert” comment. It wouldn’t make the supermarket go away or not provide food.

    As for job creation, we’re not talking about creating a new long term industry in the neighborhood, we’re talking about a couple month’s construction work, and whichever firm was contracted to do the job is unlikely to have a construction crew made up of people who happen to be from Highland Park, so the local job creation angle makes no sense at all.

    And clearly, a desire to preserve the market facade IS an important issue to members of the community or we wouldn’t even be talking about it!

    • Echo Park resident

      Seriously. If he’s concerned about the availability of nutritious, affordable food in HP, perhaps Cedillo shouldn’t be on the side of Superior — a store that sells poor quality produce at outrageously expensive prices. Heck, as a Hispanic myself, I’ll admit that I’d much rather spend my cash at a Trader Joe’s because of the obvious differences in quality compared to Superior; I can spend $100 at both stores and come out with more food and a better selection from TJs.

      There’s a reason my friends and I used to joke around in college and call Superior “Inferior.”

      • the great corn-JULIO!

        “a store that sells poor quality produce at outrageously expensive prices”

        really?

        When was the last time you shopped there?

        The prices are certainly not “outrageously expensive.” It is actually extremely cheap. I think the prices actually rival the prices at Super King. Also, the quality is on par with most markets around the area.

        I like shopping here because of their low-prices. I don’t care much if they keep or change their look. Just keep the prices dirt cheap. ; )

        • agreed, Superior is NOT expensive at all. it is quite a bit less than TJ’s and much less packaged produce, more bulk produce, the quality is fair, but acceptable to all but the highest end restaurants

      • The produce and some other items are reasonably priced and decent quality. Nowhere else in LA have I seen Sabra hummus for 2.99 regular price.

        But if you’re looking for fruit loops or processed foods, in my experience it can be more expensive.

  4. I am an actual skateholder with an actual interest and I would actually like to see this store preserved. Replacing the front with a characterless poorly/cheaply constructed front isn’t going to draw in more customers and it isn’t going to create any long term jobs for the community. And I absolutely should be able to tell the property owner what I think he should do with his historical property. I live here, I shop at the store, I look at the store on a daily basis.

  5. Other city officials who were “Unencumbered by the past” allowed the Atlantic-Richfield tower
    (which was downtown) to be razed, the Garden of Allah apartments in West Hollywood to be
    bulldozed, as well as countless other well-loved structures. Even the old Penn Station
    in NYC is missed, and nobody can figure out who gave the green light for its demolition.

    It’s not the greatest building but it is unusual, and it could be made pretty cool again.

    I’m tired of all these ‘facelifts’ which consist of giving everything a “rancho-adobe-craftsman-mission”
    style, when it’s usually always stucco and fake wood beams… in a few years when the
    owners go out of business and vacate the building, it will be another ugly boarded-up store.

    Thanks, Mr Cedillo

    • Garvanza Improvement Association

      And the land the market sits on along with the property next store to it makes a huge parcel for big development. I don’t think this was missed by the property owner or her representative Bill Delvak by their actions yesterday. My hunch is that they will develop the whole thing and Mr. Cedillo is part of that direction.

  6. Oh, are you the folks responsible for the arroyo stone Jack in the Box on Figueroa & Ave 43? Thanks so much for that stunning piece of architecture (/sarcasm). We are talking about a grocery store, across from a gas station, with a shitty donut shop strip mall in the parking lot. Why don’t you pour your energy into something that will actually make LA better?

    • Garvanza & HLP Can Suck It, Sycamore Grove Por Vida

      The same people who brought us that atrocity are the ones behind the opposition to changing this ugly-ass tissue box of a store into something else.

      • Sycamore Grove Por Vida Por Nada

        You should learn the history of the Jack in the Box before you ramble on about the issue. The lack of information that is being portrayed by your posts is evident and mirrors the lack of understanding CM Cedillo leads CD1 with. That was present yesterday at PLUM. This type of leadership is dangerous and unfortunate and will hurt this community going forward.

  7. Mr. Cedillo is not interested in preservation. Period. It’s going to be a rough ride while he is our councilman. Hang on…here comes some baaaaad architecture!

  8. It always amazes me how a small group of people want to tell the majority what’s best for them.
    This remodel will be good for the community and the people that actually shop at this store.
    Thank you Mr Cedillo now let’s make sure we get a quality project.

    • The Change.org petition in support of the preservation of the Shoppers Market had over 4500 signatures with over 1500 from our community. In attendance at the PLUM meeting in support of the building was Linda Dishman, Executive Director of the LA Conservancy, ASNC, HHPNC Land Use, HHPNC, the National Trust, OHR (Office of Historic Resources), Ken Bernstein, Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission, Highland Park Heritage Trust And local constituents. It is a sizable body of people from every aspect of our city and locale.

    • Go home Cedillo, you are the minority.

    • Shopper: How will this be good for the people who shop at this store?

  9. Spoken before PLUM today: “Not encumbered by legitimate preservation concerns…”
    Spoken before an ethics committee tomorrow: “Not encumbered by legitimate ethics concerns…”

    I’ve got this feeling that Cedillo won’t be around long enough to finish his “listening tour”, much less his full term.

  10. I’m totally disappointed and disgusted with Cedillo. His rationale is not rational at all. I think there were close to a thousand signatures collected in favor of preserving the facade. And he’s been going around the district holding “listening” meetings. So exactly who is he listening to?

    • If you voted for him, you shouldn’t be disappointed. This is exactly what you voted for.

      (not saying you did, Carol; generally speaking here.)

      • @Skeeter. Just for the record, I live in the part of Highland Park that belongs to CD 14 so I didn’t have the opportunity to vote against him, or I would have. However, I did attend one of his ‘listening’ meetings. He was pretty slick with his pep rally approach.

  11. Councilmember Gil Cedillo only cares about himself.

  12. I agree with numerous comments. A few nut balls shouldn’t dictate to a community. Historic? How about making it expensive for people to live in the neighborhood and not raise property values with damn HPOZ? Seriously, if HP wants to attract the priced out Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Echo Park hipsters and gentrify the neighborhood, then HP needs to not pick battles like this and give commercialization a chance. Next thing they’ll want a historic status for Fallas Paredes, the 99 cent, and Super A Foods. HP needs to be thinking where it can build the next Americana or Grove; this is the style of development people want.

    • personally, I think it would be a disaster to have an Americana type development in Highland Park.
      I think it would be nice to have a more charming “town center” walkable/ shoppable / eatable area along Fig near the metro stop. Something like a Montrose.

      • Dear lord, no! Is this a joke? Who wants an Americana or Grove in their neighborhood? That sounds like the worst! That’s the style of development DEVELOPERS want, not residents.

        We want an independent shopping district that does not require facelifts — keep the old Fig corridor as it is, with mom and pop stores and original architecture. Preserve, don’t replace. Pride of local ownership. A sense of unique place. This is what HP has had, but is at risk of losing if we don’t start seriously advocating.

        I think I might start making some “See ya, Cedillo” signs. Who’s in?

    • Seriously, Americana? No thanks, I’m happy to drive to Glendale twice a year when I need to do some Americana at brand style shopping. I’m with KM on this one.

    • “A few nut balls shouldn’t dictate to a community.” – that speaks directly to your Grove/Americana idea. That is NOT what people who live in this community want.

  13. So, was there a vote on the landmark nomination? And if not, does our councilman’s failure to support it absolutely mean it will be defeated? I’m reminded of a former city Building and Safety inspector who once told me, ‘These old buildings? Take a picture, tear them down.’ Is that your position Mr. Cedillo?

  14. Garvanza Improvement Association

    Gil Cedillo made a bad decision today regarding the Shoppers Market (Superior Market). He sided with the property owner in her quest to completely disregard historic fabric like Googie.

    I have a feeling that the large lot that market sits on will be the cash out for the family when they develop it for condos or apartments down the road. And the community will lose its affordable and much needed amenity but horrible low quality market and the owners will laugh all the way to the bank. And Mr. Cedillo will be a long gone politician that sunk historic preservation for CD1.

    What is further disappointing is how Cedillo sidelined the architecture and dismissed it from his consideration. He is a committee member of PLUM (Planning Land Use Management) and he deliberately dismissed an endangered style of architecture and looked passed the “period of significance” for the Garvanza-Highland Park HPOZ which ends at 1961. He believed the HPOZ period of significance ended in 1947. Ken Bernstein validated the year that we know to be recorded with the city as 1961 from the LA Planning Dept. and Mr. Cedillo still proceeded with his determination even after Antonio Castillo (President of the Highland Park Heritage Trust) stated the period of significance time line and said that the market was built in 1960 which puts it inside the period of significance. Charles Fisher spoke as well, both were very eloquent. Cedillo completely dismissed these community members and what they had to contribute to save the building.

    What is the future of an HPOZ if someone like Mr. Cedillo can omit the architecture as a consideration for historic declaration?

  15. Garvanza Improvement Association

    Oh and Yancey Quinones, (owner of Antigua Coffee), was walking beside the property owner of Superior Market and hugging and congratulating her right after the Shoppers Market PLUM meeting. He told me a few weeks ago in his coffee shop that the market and the owners were working out something so that his coffee could be offered in the store. As far as I am concerned he has lost my business.

    • Wow! So you are going to stop supporting a community business owned by a community activist that works tirelessly to make this a better community for future generations of HP?!

  16. Over here in Echo Park, Cedillo is refusing to meet with community leaders who have over 1,000 signatures opposing a massive density bonus apartment building 78 feet tall. Instead, the Council office has informed the community that if they want to talk to the Council office, the developer’s outreach firm has been hired by Cedillo to negotiate over the details of the building. Since when does the Council office pay the developer’s agent to perform the elected official’s job of meeting with and understanding community concerns? Is Mr. Cedillo too good to spend his time meeting his constituents in settings not under his control like his fake “listening tour”?

  17. Tearing this entire parcel to the ground and replacing it with a Grove style development would be fabulous! There can underground parking, ground level retail (maybe a Trader Joes or something above slum-level food sales), and residential condos above.

    This isn’t Mayberry. I would love for our area to move into the future and attract residents who will care for the area and not treat it like a third world garbage can. Preserving this building is crazy talk, there is nothing special about it, or the area.

    • There is a lovely part of the southland known as the “valley”. How about you going there and leaving our community alone!

    • Some – actually, a lot – of us DO think there is something special about our area, and have chosen to live here because of that something special. Those who have no particular affinity for the neighborhood have no reason to live in it. So, do what alijill said, and find a neighborhood you do like.

  18. OMG! They aren’t going to replace it with the grove. They are simply going to turn it into another stucco box with very generic stucco over styrofoam adornments. It’ll look all new and shiny for six months, and then the cheap paint will start peeling. Why? They’ve already redone the inside. Why not spend the money fixing up the parking lot and the outlying ghetto buildings. Why not just spend the money on community relations, rather than put it all into bribing councilmen and mucking up what little history and character is left in the area.

    • One shitty, commercial building gets replaced by another. Who cares? Any box store with a giant parking crater out front is a nuisance, anyway.

    • preservation patriot

      Yes, because Food 4 Less is a stunning building.. Palmdale style “replacement” architecture is a great example of Cedillo’s quest to “un-encumber” us here in Historic Highland Park, of Los Angeles history, and get right into a totalitarian look. As far as history/preservation, Cedillo has a strip mall mentality, on steroids, and will always do the bidding of the palm greasers.

  19. I’ve been following this story since the beginning and I agree with some of the comments about this being a good thing for the community. This market will never be renovated or improved if the opinions of the few get their way. The majority, even if they are not present on community blogs or show up to meetings, do want this market upgraded. Gil Cedillo made the right choice supporting this project. I wish the journalists covering this story would have been more impartial, because it seems as if they only spoke to a certain pool of community members. Honestly, I haven’t shopped in this market for years because it’s just disgusting. Once it’s renovated, it will be my go to market. Can’t wait! Thank you, Mr. Cedillo.

    • preservation patriot

      4500 signatures on a petition to save the building, is not just a “few” people. It’s a major statement.

      • According to Tina only 1500 signatures were from locals. If my math is right, that means 3,000 signatures were from people that don’t live in the area and probably wouldn’t support the business even if they did. I would be willing to bet that a very small percentage of the remaining 1500 don’t shop at the grocery store. Give the majority what they want……a new grocery store that ALL are welcome.

        • Exactly. Some of the folks on a previous thread essentially stated that they are in favor of preservation because they enjoy looking at the exterior whenever they drive past the store. ..

          • That’s kind of what this is about. The exterior is what faces the community; the interior is what matters to shoppers. The exterior really is of little consequence to those who shop there.

    • Thank you for your post. Like you, I am a member of this community who appreciates local improvement. I stopped shopping there when a bird flew into my cart in the bread isle. No kidding.

  20. Garvanza & HLP Can Suck It, Sycamore Grove Por Vida

    An unlovable building is going to get altered to suit the current occupants – Cedillo sees the long term benefits of growing a voter base around that as opposed to stifling the business interests of Superior Market and the property owner. This isn’t the original McDonalds or the now demolished Ships in Culver City, or any of the other funky and iconic buildings that are taken as symbols of American life in the mid to late 20th century. The Superior market is an unremarkable stucco box. I have only shopped there off and on since 2003 (so what do I know, right?) and the defining characteristic of the parcel is the huge parking lagoon around, not the Kleenex-box with bunting at the back of the lot. Hey, maybe we can get a historical preservation overlay on the parking lot so we can forever preserve the values of the mass motoring age in its lowest form, to show off the effects of the era that brought financial ruin to this area. Or, perhaps, we can find a way to convert this dystopian landscape into a thriving market that serve the needs of businesses and residents alike. i.e. by letting the market proceed with their transformation.

    I have been trying to imagine the fight to preserve Food for Less/McDonalds or Fallas Paredes (and attached schlock mini mall) compounds in the year 2050 and I hope that our grandkids have the sense to dump these impractical, financially unstable, and visually ugly buildings.

  21. I think the best route for the pro-preservation crowd will be to buy this building. Then they can be on the receiving end of everybody telling them what they can do with their own property.

    • Picky, Picky gets it. You want real change… buy the building yourself. Look guys, I love the Googie style sign. But you lost. Moveon.org These comments about Cedillo being a racist are ignorant and childish. Plus, the property owners are not cartoonist evil developers. They are people just like you and me. Why don’t you try to buy that sign if you like it so much? You know what? Don’t. I will. Then I’ll sell it to you for a profit. See you soon!

  22. Not that anyone cares but according to ZIMAS (LA City’s official Zone Information Map Access System) the building was erected in 1966, not 1960.

    http://i.imgur.com/vhpnMZF.png

    which makes it not exactly mid-century.

    • ZIMAS gets it information about built dates from the Los Angeles County Assessor. Although the Assessor dates are usually close, they are not always correct. I’m sure the people who put together the HCM nomination did their research, including a review of the building permit records.

      • We pulled all of the permits for the property, including those for the Page School for Girls that occupied the site long before the market.

        The main building was built in 1960 and the architect of the building is listed as Ronald Cleveland on the permit.

        The Taco Fiesta/Yum Yum Donuts building is the one that was built in 1966.

  23. Does anyone have an image of the proposed remodel? Not one article that I’ve read has contained any rendering of the remodel. Instead I am just reading a bunch of comments citing some “ugly stucco box” with no image to back it up.

  24. If Cedillo unencumbered by the past, why is he allowing the developer to take down a building from 1960 and replace it to look like one from 1910, but bulked out to reflect current building codes?

    What that site needs is a better parking lot: better circulation, more pedestrian paths between cars, better lighting, and definitely more trees, more like 1 per 4 parking spaces. No amount of architectural cosmetics will change the fact that it is a depressing place to shop. They need to address the user experience and the parking lot is the place to start.

  25. Regardless of the merits or not of the redesign. Fact remains there is still a generic donut shop/ taco shop in the front part of the parking lot. I have no idea how that fits in with Googie or faux craftsman architecture

    • It also seems apparent that since the property is gigantic and 50 yards from a light rail stop , the end game has always been raze it all, and build a new grocery store with 300 apartments on top. Am i missing something everybody else knows???? Would that not be better than an old style grocery with 300 parking spaces?

  26. Is this now a done deal? Is there another vote at the full city council?

  27. The options are either to preserve this unique architecture or bland-ify the exterior so that it matches everything else bland in this region.

    We unfortunately are not being offered the option to convert this into mixed-use buildings with ground-floor retail and offices/apartments above. I support preserving the architecture but not at the expense of future development on this land. It’s so close to rail… Would love to see Googie elements incorporated into something new built there. Googie style apartments?

    Overall mixed feelings on this one. I signed petition to support the preservation but I know that this land is better suited as transit-oriented development.

  28. A critical point that seems lost upon supporters of the remodel is that the argument in favor of preservation applies only to the exterior elements, and in no way stops the supermarket owners from making any improvements to the interior of the market. The issue has consistently (and incorrectly) been painted as a choice between preserving historic architecture and ‘upgrading’ the market to benefit the community… when this is a completely false choice, since both can easily be accomplished.

    In reality it would likely be less expensive for the owner to clean up and restore the historic elements on the exterior than it would be to totally remodel the front… but the truth is that the owners are less motivated to actually invest in improving the interior (the aspect of the market that desperately needs modernization) than they are in fluffing up the exterior. They’ve done their cost/benefit analysis and know that something that looks shiny and new on the outside will get more people in the door… but this has nothing to do with actually improving the market itself in a way that benefits the community. They’re actually looking to save money by investing in a fluffy exterior and skimping on the interior. Again, preserving the exterior in no way affects the owner’s ability to make any changes on the interior.

    I agree with many of the other comments that a larger issue here driving the politics is the future development potential of this parcel, particularly given the transit-oriented location. If that’s the real issue than the property owner, Cedillo, and other foes of preserving this place should have the guts to discuss the merits of that as a legitimate factor, rather than masquerading and engaging in a disingenuous campaign of misinformation.

    Cedillo is off to a terrible start; this is already the second time early in his term that he has flagrantly disregarded legitimate preservation concerns (i.e. removal of historic windows at his new office)… ‘representing’ a district that strongly values its architectural and cultural resources. We need to watch him very very carefully, and hold him accountable.

  29. Councilmember Cedillo is thoughtful, and assessed historical facts before making a decision. First, CM Cedillo spoke eloquently over how the process was being taken advantage and abused by a few most of whom don’t even live in that neighborhood. The City had already approved the design prior to the request for Historic Designation. Also, we just don’t believe that Preservationists finds this building historic. If they did, they would have nominated it years ago, when it was operating as Lucky, or when he learned it was subject to one of several remodeling proposals, or when it sat vacant and in blighted conditions. We believe Mr. Fisher is instead using the nomination process to prevent implementation of a proposed design our customers want and like but that he doesn’t like. This is typical for those who feel entitled and have become accustomed to getting things there way. This last-minute abuse of process is like a kid crying for attention because we wants a banana split instead of Sundae, and everyone else wants the Sundae. The community has spoken. Thank you Councilmember Cedillo for your courage.

    • Exactly who is “we”?

    • This is sure an interesting take, even though it is more than slightly misleading. I will reserve my comments about Council member Cedillo’s “thoughtfulness” other than to note that in using his logic the Leonis Adobe, which is Historic Cultural Monument No. 1 would have been declined and demolished a half a century ago. there are probably about 200 of the 1,040 or so declared Historic Cultural Monuments which were saved from imminent demolition by the 1962 ordinance. The Shoppers building had been before the HPOZ Board three times before this latest time. Each time, Lucky’s (1997), Albertson’s (1999) and Superior (2006) agreed to retain the facade of the building. In return, there were verbal agreements that there would be no HCM nomination as long as the facade was retained. This gave the market operator free range for the rest of the property and the store’s interior. When Superior chose to break the agreement, the Highland Park Heritage Trust submitted the HCM nomination, which I drafted after a unanimous vote by the HPHT board. This nomination was endorsed by the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council and the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council as well as the Los Angeles Conservancy. Several recognized preservation experts also testified in support of the nomination. The were also two petitions, one on Change.org and the other a print petition that amassed over 1,000 signatures in a short period of time. I invite everyone to read the comments on the Change.org website. Just key in Gil Cedillo’s name once on the site. The comment by “Sandra” that “we just don’t believe that Preservationists finds this building historic” is easily dis-proven. As far as the proposed “Craftsman” design, I never said that I disliked it, but that it was inappropriate to destroy a historic building to create a version of an earlier era. What is stated in the earlier article is: “Mock-craftsman is not something historic. This new design is trying to patronize the community to blend in with the area, and it’s not going to blend in”. I never said it was a bad design, just inappropriate in this case. Had this been a new building or the remodel of a building that did not have a distinctive historic design, it would have been very appropriate. Lastly, the accusation that preservationist are not of the community is completely absurd. I have been a resident of Northeast Los Angeles almost my entire life, as was my father, who also grew up here. The people that support the saving of this building are local and we all have a major stake in the preservation of all aspects of our historic community. Superior let it be known that they would close the store if they could not do there remodel. We believe this to have been a hollow threat made to scare people into supporting the remodel. After all, why close a profitable store if you have to preserve a historic building rather than redo it. Their use of threats and hyperbole reminds me of the child that throws a tantrum because he can’t get his way and says that he’ll take his toys and go home.

      Charles J. Fisher

    • Um “Sandra”, your comments demonstrate that you do not know the history of this market. On prior occasions there have been efforts to destroy the historic facade and each time our City-created HPOZ Board members engaged the supermarket tenant at the time. To avoid historic nomination, the prior tenants and Superior have previously agreed to avoid modification of the character-defining elements to maintain preservation of the historic elements. Superior could choose to spruce up the Googie elements and make the store shine. Instead, they seek to blandize it into the same boring crap found in Orange County and Santa Clarita.

      In this case, the Councilmember and his staff actively sought to find someone, anyone, to support Superior, including those in the community who were bribed with gift cards up to $100. The Councilmember’s staff put out a message to community groups that misled them as to when the City Committee would actually take testimony — thereby disenfranchising those who wished to be heard on the issue. To have the staff deliberately mislead the public is very disturbing and anti-democratic.

      The Councilmember, in the face of expert conclusions by the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission and the Historic Resources Office that the site is historic and meets all criteria for historic-cultural monument status, slapped his own City staff across the face. The Councilmember did not want to hear that Inconvenient Truth. So in a completely cynical and unprincipled move — contrary to what he knew was the overwhelming voice of neighborhood councils, community and civil rights groups — he “chose” to “hear” the plea of the giftcard holders over the people of the community who live, work, breathe, shop and die here.

      That was no eloquent speech, Sandra. That was unvarnished political prostitution. It will not stand. Let us transfer those 4,500 signatures on the Moveon.org petition to the recall petition.

  30. The owners want to give the place a facelift because it is currently pretty dumpy. It’s no secret that the market is pretty crappy and to say it is not means you 1) are in denial 2) never been to a regular supermarket or 3) you have never even shopped there before. I’m for anything that will improve the look and feel of supermarket whether it be superior or not… Or googie

    • @ Pillow – You are right, Superior needs a facelift! Check out El Super on York/Avenue 56.
      The community fought valiantly and convinced the owners to maintain the architectural integrity
      of the building. They vastly improved the site and gained loyal customers too! It’s a WIN – WIN situation for everyone!

      @ Sandra/Erxicana – Do you work for Cedillo? FYI – Cedillo betrayed a community! You say he listened to the community. Which community do you speak of? The HHPNC board members were elected by over 60,000 residents in Highland Park. The board members speak for the community. And, the HHPNC supported preservationist view of maintaining the “Googie” facade. You may want to hook-up with Pillow and drive by El Super and see why maintaining the integrity of the facade is important to Highland Park. In my opinion, it’s a blatant LIE that Cedillo even considered the community.

    • After living in Highland Park for over 30 years and going to Superior Grocers BEFORE it was Superior Grocers… I welcome the renovation!!!!! It is long overdue and our community will benefit from a market which provides an affordable selection of products and now wants to provide us with a pleasant shopping experience. I appreciate having a market which brings health fairs to the community it does business in. This shows they care about their customers and the welfare of the community. I have also noticed that they have planted trees in their parking lot where none existed in the past. When Superior Grocers first came into this neighborhood they painted the exterior. That was more than the previous tenants had ever done. I am grateful that this business is interested in investing in our neighborhood by providing those of us who patronize their business with a pleasant shopping experience. In my opinion, Superior Grocers is respecting our neighborhood by incorporating a “craftsman” facade to its building. I read somewhere that this is not appropriate for our neighborhood. I don’t know about you but craftsman style architecture is everywhere in Highland Park and is truly representative of the neighborhood I live in. I love my neighborhood and appreciate what Cedillo and Superior Grocers are trying to do for our neighborhood. We should welcome positive changes to a neighborhood that is being respected and embraced by their local market. Highland Park has bigger battles to tackle(i.e.Southwest Museuem)

      • Here is the Councilman’s Weekly Newsletter Doublespeak Aracely:

        “Last week we gave you a brief look on balancing competing interests in regards to El Superior in Highland Park. Councilmember Cedillo held a hearing where he listened to both sides. (A “hearing” for which his staff sent out an email saying it would not happen.) This past week he denied the application to designate this location as a historical monument. (He fails to mention it was a vote by the City Council, not him.) The Councilman is a big supporter of historic preservation and has received various awards on his efforts to preserve cultural monuments, but he has serious concerns about this process at a local level. A closer look found that the historic preservation process is flawed. As the City of Los Angeles moves forward in trying to revitalize some of its poorest areas we must find a way to balance our historic cultural icons, while encouraging smart growth and economic development.

        The denial of the historic designation will allow for the supermarket to remodel and improve the physical structure of the building in order to better serve the needs of the community.

        In the coming weeks Councilmember Cedillo will work with the Planning Department to ensure transparency in the process, and to make sure we are protecting our historical monuments while encouraging revitalization of our neighborhoods.”

        TRANSLATION: I Gil Cedillo am going to attack the Historic Designation Process that has been in place for decades because the developers I want to shake down don’t like it. Ready to lose the Southwest Museum at Cedillo’s hands? Watch what he does Aracely.

      • preservation patriot

        @Aracely, Imagine if you went into Superior Market and the only thing different was the interior layout. Imagine it was not the jumbled up mess inside, but rather, like the El Super, on York/56, visually flowing, and beautifully arranged,with a great bakery,outstanding carneceria, and the freshest produce. Imagine that the outside was the same,only cleaned up with a certain neighborhood pride. It should be celebrated for it’s uniqueness. Reworking the interior, and creating a restored exterior expresses the unique qualities that Highland Park already has. Turning it into a cookie cutter building is spitting in the face of cultural history. Cedillo is the “Lugey-man”.

  31. preservation patriot

    Th Superior market has a terrible business model. When you enter the store, you are met with a wall of clutter, stuff piled on top of stuff,and no view into the market. It is very uninviting is poorly organized. They need help with the interior, but that has never been the issue. On the other hand, El Super, on York, is a “superior” example of incorporating the existing facade,in with a fantastically organized and orderly display of their groceries. I love to shop there. It is incredibly inviting, and the market is always packed. Bravo to El Super. They listened to the community’s request to preserve the historic facade. They are exceptional. The “craftsman facade” is just that. It is dull,and boring like any other commonplace Vons in South Pasadena, for instance. Hey,Highland Park! I thought you wanted to preserve and protect your neighborhood. What is this,if not that?

  32. This guy is a horses ass….enough said.

  33. OMG, such nimbys!!!! Tear the market down and start from scratch. Or let Walmart move in, maybe that would make everyone happy!!!!!!!!!!

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