The California Historical Resources Commission on Friday rejected a request to find The Factory building eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The building, known for being the home of Mitchell Camera Factory and the Studio One nightclub, was previously denied designation for local listing in 1995.
Faring Capital said the rejection won’t stop it from proceeding with its plan to incorporate a majority of The Factory into its Robertson Lane project. That project will include a hotel, shops and restaurants and 1,000 subterranean parking spaces on the lot between Robertson Boulevard and LaPeer Drive where The Factory building is located.
“Despite being denied eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places, Faring recognizes how important The Factory building is locally and to the greater Los Angeles region,” said Darren Embry, Faring’s director of community development. “The Factory’s local connection is why Faring has worked so hard with our preservationist community partners over the last three years to arrive at our current Robertson Lane proposal that incorporates the Factory, which is truly a win-win.”
In April a group of historical preservation advocates known as the West Hollywood Heritage Project filed an application with the National Register of Historic Places to have The Factory building declared a historic resource. The state Historical Resources Commission’s evaluation was part of the National Register’s approval process. Kate Eggert and Krisy Gosney, founders of the WeHo Heritage group, had hoped The Factory would become the first West Coast LGBT property on the National Register. Preservation activists see the fact that The Factory housed Studio One as an important part of gay history. That gay disco, which opened in 1974, drew celebrities such as Patti LaBelle, Joan Rivers and Liza Minnelli along with as many as 1,000 gay men.
Last year the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a different organization, put the Factory on its list of America’s most endangered historic places. The annual list of the trust, which is a privately funded nonprofit, spotlights important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that the trust sees as being at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. More than 250 sites have been on the list over its 28-year history.
Faring, which originally had planned to demolish The Factory building, worked with other local preservation organizations such as the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance and the Los Angeles Conservancy to find a way to incorporate it into the Robertson Lane project.
“The completion of Robertson Lane will ensure The Factory will remain part of our community for years to come, for future generations in West Hollywood to enjoy,” said Craig Hodgetts, a partner with Ming Fung in Hodgetts + Fung, which is designing the project. “Robertson Lane will celebrate The Factory’s storied past and start a new and exciting chapter in the building’s history.”
CEO Jason Illoulian noted that last Tuesday Faring hosted over 150 local West Hollywood residents and small business owners to solicit input from the community. “Robertson Lane will alleviate the parking burdens in the neighborhood and transform this part of West Hollywood into a walkable district,” Illoulian said in a press release. More information about the project is available at its website.
More information about Robertson Lane and the future plans for The Factory building is available on the project’s website.