Highland Park Googie-style market gets a Craftsman makeover

Googie-style facade was replaced by faux-Craftsman style

Googie-style facade was replaced by faux-Craftsman style

HIGHLAND PARK —  The Superior Grocers store in Highland Park now welcomes customers with a Craftsman-inspired facade after the building’s former Mid-Century design was demolished over the objections of preservationists.

The new exterior of the 34,000-square-foot building features faux stones, wood columns, rafters and a pointed roof.  The only part of the  building’s original Googie-style architecture to survive are some patterned, concrete-block walls partially hidden by signs.

The office of First District Councilman Gil Cedillo, who angered preservationists when he blocked the building’s historic landmark nomination, invited residents to visit the remodeled store.  “This remodel is helping us make the First District #1!,” the council office said in an email.

Superior Grocers is not the first faux-Craftsman to pop up on Figueroa. There’s already a Craftsman-style  Food 4 Less and Jack-in-the-Box.

While Highland Park preservationists failed to save the Superior Grocer’s Mid-Century style, they successfully organized an effort to save  the swooping facade of a former Safeway market in 2009.

New seating area is located at the front of the store

A patterned-concrete block wall was the only part of the Mid-Century facade that was left in place.

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  1. It looks great!

    • You do realize that it’s fake craftsman architecture. Those beams you see on the outside are just decorative. They don’t support squat. It’s equivalent to Main Street USA at Disneyland.

      They could have just as easily renovated the original design of the structure. Why not go with a Mad Men MCM design? That would be in line with the Googie design of this building. The interior could have been modern, but 60s inspired retro design. It’s a huge missed opportunity.

      I hate fake architecture.

  2. Mt. Angelus resident

    Good job on the remodel. This was good for the community. I also heard that the supermarket has already seen an increase in sales.

  3. As a Superior customer who has now seen both versions up close, I do believe that this is an improvement. There is still work to do on the inside (that produce section is a wreck), but they are definitely on their way to being a store that I can shop at exclusively. The old exterior was terribly worn and dreary – something that was painfully obvious whenever I entered the building. I know that plenty of folks enjoyed seeing the old look as they “drove by” this market, but the people I know who actually shop there are glad to see the renovation. Cheers!

  4. Christian Castillo

    Looks cool, love the new seating area!

  5. A vast improvement to the store! I think the new craftsman style is much more fitting for the community and looks great. It’s nice to see revitalization that fits the diversity that makes up Highland Park . I’ve been by this Superior tons of times and have never wanted to shop there…it’s definitely getting my attention now!

  6. Love it…..article does not give it justice. Glad to see the comments are positive from those that matter.

    • So let’s tally up the losses under Gil Cedillo:

      1. Shopper’s Market which could have been sensitively restored, but instead was partially demolished and replaced with a fake stone front.

      2. Upset the City’s Bike Plan by refusing to carry out bike lanes on Figueroa Street.

      3. Demolition of the Riverside/Figueroa Bridge over innovative preservation proposal by creative architects..

      4. Proliferation of homeless encampments in the Council District including piles of garbage.

      5. Confiscation of Highland Park parking lots for the benefit of the Transit Village Developer who wants to put cheap housing in a growing and vibrant commercial district.

      Can anyone add to this list?

      • Where can I donate all of my free time to the next candidate who runs against Gil Cedillo? When the Los Angeles Time flames you for being an inexplicable throwback making a name for yourself by roadblocking citywide transportation progress then you got problems. The packaging on this pol, as being a man of the people, does not hold up. The guy’s actions stink of lobbyists and influence peddling with a strong aroma of neglect of his neediest constituents. Can anyone explain his vision of progress? Not seeing it.

      • Sure, Cedillo hasn’t had a good track record, and he’s been a complete charlatan when it comes to the Figueroa bike lanes. But I think this is a huge improvement. This is so much more welcoming than before, and who doesn’t welcome a nice seating area? I think people are biased against Cedillo (which is understandable), but there’s no reason to blame him for this.

      • I have heard that Cedillo spends his time meeting with lobbyists, unions, and campaign contributors and has instructed his staff to meet with community people on his behalf, if at all. Cha ching. Campaign contributions are just legal bribery and elected officials who ignore the voices of their constituents to favor those contributions are a very special subgroup of the world’s oldest profession.

        • My favorite example is when the shill running the glassell park bike lane meeting called for “the councilman, who has been listening closely to all of this in the back” to come down and say a few words at the very end then no one could find him for ten minutes.

      • I don’t have an issue with a single thing on your list. In fact I see them as the will of his constituents. I mean maybe he could stand to improve on the hobo thing but the bike lane plan was an abomination.

    • Mt. Angelus resident

      I agree. The article definitely seems biased against the remodel. But hey, you can’t have too high of journalistic expectations from the eastsider.

      • Absolutely. This article seems to have been written for the same Facebook commenters who turned this post into another opportunity to bitch and moan about Gil Cedillo and bike lanes.

  7. Doesn’t matter what facade that store hides behind, its still not going to make the goods any better.

    It kinda reminds me of the Vons in North Glendale… on Verdugo.

  8. Wow…. Looks much nicer.

  9. “But hey, you can’t have too high of journalistic expectations from the eastsider.” ??! Man, at least clean up your grammar when you’re smearing a journalist.
    The editor does a great job, which is why we all read the Eastsider every day. And he does it for free! He’s permitted to express opinions that diverge from yours.

    • “The editor does a great job, which is why we all read the Eastsider every day. And he does it for free!”

      What are you smoking?

  10. We had a Lucky, then we had an Albertsons. Then the pencil pushers looked through the numbers and decided that what we really needed was another supermarket that catered to Latino families: tortilleria, menudo fixins in the meat department, Galletas Marias, etc.. This, despite the fact that Figueroa has at least 3 of those.

    Superior Market smelled horrible when it first opened. It was a combination of the floor cleaner and the slightly expired meat products. I stayed away at all costs.

    I will admit, they’ve started to clean up their act. The place doesn’t smell as rancid. But they still have very odd selections, still catering to Latino Families (as opposed to brands you’d find in a Vons or Albertsons). I’m glad they invested in the new facade. (Can I enter from both ends yet?)

    • Good on ’em for the makeover, but the plastic ‘trademark’ logo/lettering screams cheap and clueless. Update the logo for the ‘hood.

  11. This looks like crap! It’s not even Craftsman-ish; it looks like a suburban chain restaurant from the 90s. They ruined a cool period building that should have been restore to make this fake-ass “Craftman” abortion. Leaving the 1950’s patterned cement wall exposed is a cruel reminder of what once was… and it just shows you that they were too cheap to bother covering the whole wall. This eyesore will be Gil’s “great legacy,” let’s put his name on this turd.

  12. Impeach Cedillo. He and his staff are doing zilch for the community.

    • I sent a letter to the Council office asking for preservation of the Googie history of Los Angeles. The building could have been restored to something retro that would have been much more appealing than this oversized faux mess. But what really alarmed me was how Gil Cedillo declared he had not heard from the “whole” community. I heard that his staff put out false information to the community saying the public hearing on this would be “postponed”. Then Superior bussed in about 100 persons who they gave shopping cards to. Some testified that they needed the market as it was “threatening to close” if it did not “get its remodel approved.” THEN Gil Cedillo proclaimed that he had finally “heard” from the real community.
      I really felt disrespected by my own Councilmember. He does not apparently embrace my diversity unless I look like him.

  13. It’s ironic that the Craftsman style was born as a hand crafted response to the industrialized mass-production and eclectic chaos of the Victorian era. The Googie style of the market before the restyle was an outgrowth of the Modernist movement, which emphasized the expression of new materials and technology. What we have now is a clumsy stapled-together set piece with no connection to either movement. It’s proportions are way off, the detailing is skimpy and what’s with that sign? Has the bush-league “designer” even been to the Gamble House? Wow, what a mess. Then again, I guess the Superior Market can justify this abortion if they sell more Pop Tarts.

  14. The article mentions the two other faux-Craftsman buildings on Figueroa Street. The big difference is that the two other examples were part of a new development. Superior Market was designed to be Googie-style and retained its architectural integrity for 5 decades. The fact that it was dirty and smelled was a maintenance and management matter. The architectural significance for the community suffered because of it.

  15. Cd 1 rulezzzzzzzzz –

    glad to see my fellow Cedillo staffers representin on the easssider blog

    la Raza! Racist historic preservationists tryin to keep us from fresh produce!

  16. Wonder if it will stand up for 50 years like the last design. I prefer the symetrically geometry and integrity of the prior desisgn.

  17. You know he’s gunning for Barlow Respiratory Hospital in Elysian Park to mow done their land marked buildings and acreage.

  18. “Sports Chalet” gone bad……

  19. Every time I ride my bike down Figueroa, dodging traffic and plowing through potholes while cars speed ad 45+ mph, I feel a sense of peace when I look at the new Superior facade… I feel like I’m at a Vons in La Cañada, and I feel safe and warm and fuzzy.

    Last I checked, Craftsman buildings had warmth, and elected representatives were supposed to represent the interests of their community, not donors in Sacramento. Good job Cedillo, you’re 0 for 2, and you’ve barely gotten started!

    • so you would be happier if he created bike lanes catering to a loud but vocal minority – the 1% of the community that ride bikes happy. that would be very bad politics. remember what spock said – the good of the many out weighs that of the few. and by few I mean FEW.

  20. So LA lost an original Googie-styled building for this lumber jack monstrosity? And the numbskulls say “it fits in better with the neighborhood.” An urban area is not a museum. That old store reflected the space age, the atomic age of mid-century America. Googie wasn’t a terribly popular style and there are only a few other places with great representations of it. But craftsman’s are a dime a dozen, especially in this hood. Oh HP, you always seem to have a grass stain on your Sunday dress.

  21. I love the new look and shopped there for the first time – after living in the neighborhood over 10 years. Well done Cedillo, you earned my vote for ever when crushed the dream of bike lanes on fig and shutdown the 1%. Bike nuts, you people are annoying go back to the states you came from and try to “fix” things there.

  22. Look, 100% better nice, people are never happy. They thing they are the last coca cola from the desert, other the last cherry of the pie., grow up instead of nagging help others be more positive. Of course is not an original craftman, but you can’t argue, that look pretty and clean I believe will be positive and an incentive for the community.

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