Beneficial Plaza and Liberty Park won the support of the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission to be designated a City of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument at the CHC’s meeting on Thursday.
“We are very pleased that the Commissioners are in agreement that the combined architectural gem of Beneficial Plaza and Liberty Park at 3700 Wilshire meet the highest standard for historical and cultural preservation,” Annette Van Duren, applicant for monument status and representative of the SaveLibertyPark effort, told the Buzz today.
The vote to recommend was nearly unanimous, with only one commissioner siding with a large contingent of construction workers who spoke in support of building a mixed-use 36-story tower with 506 residential units and and 62,000 square feet of shops on the grassy open space. Supporters of the proposed building say it would add construction jobs and affordable housing.
The remaining four Commissioners agreed with a similarly large contingent of SaveLibertyPark supporters who urged the preservation of the architecture and the greenspace, a benefit the community has enjoyed since the 1960s, when the building was constructed.
“It is important to the Koreatown residents and those who work on the Wilshire Corridor, that this 2 and a half acres of landscaped trees and lawn be preserved as the largest open place in the area,” said Van Duren. “Although it is private property, the zoning was changed by the City of Los Angeles Planning Commission in 1968 to preserve this as park space. The builders and previous owners – Beneficial Life – held many community events at Liberty Park. The closest open greenspace, outside of the tiny strip of trees outside the former Ambassador Hotel, is Lafayette Park – 1.6 miles to the East.”
The recommendation now goes to the City Council for approval, first to the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee and then to the full City Council for final approval.
As previously reported in the Buzz, the preservation of Beneficial Plaza and Liberty Park has become an important issue for Koreatown residents since plans were announced by the developer Jamieson Properties to build a 36-story tower on the open space.