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Beverly Theatre May Be Torn Down

October 4, 2004

BEVERLY HILLS - The first movie palace of Beverly Hills may be torn down and replaced by a luxury hotel if the Beverly Hills Architectural Commission does not decide to preserve it. The Beverly Theatre, located on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Beverly Drive, was first built in 1925. Though it has not operated as a theater for some time, and was most recently the Israeli Discount Bank, the iconic onion-shaped dome has been a distinct part of the Beverly Hills skyline, said Ken Bernstein, the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Director of Preservation Issues.

“The loss of [the theater] would be tragic,” Bernstein added. “We hope we will defeat the project.” According to the Los Angeles Times, the Conservancy and other concerned groups organized themselves as the Campaign to Save Beverly Hills to try and petition the possible construction of the luxury hotel, gardens, and public parking.

The $200 million project, called the Montage Hotel, was proposed a few years ago. On the city of Beverly Hills’ website, several alternatives to total demolition are discussed. The option second to total preservation would preserve the historic elements of the theater while implementing the project components. While it is perhaps the most “environmentally superior” alternative, it could affect the plan’s economic prospects, the website said.

In a press release, Mayor Mark Egerman noted that over 90 of the 104 speakers at the City Council hearings expressed their support of the proposal. City Council will discuss the matter on October 19. Bernstein said the proposal will go to a vote some time in January.



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