Chattel Receives Los Angeles Conservancy Awards

We are proud to announce that two of Chattel's projects were recognized by the Los Angeles Conservancy at the 32ndAnnual Preservation Awards Luncheon at Millennium Biltmore Hotel on Thursday, May 16, 2013.  Both the window reglazing effort at Compton City Hall and rehabilitation of Boyle Hotel received awards this year. These projects demonstrate that preservation is taking place throughout greater Los Angeles, from an apartment building well over a century old in Boyle Heights, to the 35 year old Compton City Hall. 

Back row: Robert Delgadillo, City of Compton Interim Planning Director, Adrian Scott Fine, LA Conservancy, Robert Chattel, AIA
Front row: Kathryn McGee, Chattel, Inc., Harold Williams, FAIA, architect Compton City Hall, Betty Williams, Justin Greving, Chattel, Inc.

Often referred to in our office internally as the "preservation prom," the Awards Luncheon recognizes outstanding efforts to maintain and preserve historic places that contribute to the unique character of greater Los Angeles.  An independent panel of jurists selected nine projects this year that represent a wide range of preservation efforts throughout Southern California.  Chattel staff attended along with representatives from the City of Compton and the architect of Compton City Hall, Harold L. Williams, FAIA and his wife Betty Williams.

The oldest remaining commercial building in Boyle Heights is set prominently at the intersection of First and Boyle, outlined against a backdrop of downtown Los Angeles skyscrapers.
When constructed in 1889 by George Cummings, the Boyle Hotel reflected the earliest expansion and growth outside the commercial core of Los Angeles.  In more recent years it became home to mariachis, who congregate daily in the nearby Mariachi Plaza.  Once the grandest structure in its neighborhood, the building suffered from deferred maintenance, numerous building code violations, and pest infestations when it was bought in 2006 by nonprofit developer East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC). 

As the historic preservation consultant, Chattel worked with ELACC and architect Richard Barron to restore the building’s distinctive corner cupola, rehabilitate 30 affordable units in the historic building, and add 21 units in a new addition.  This rehabilitation demonstrates a successful effort to bring much needed affordable housing to Boyle Heights while at the same time restoring a beloved icon to its former glory.  At its recent meeting, the State Historical Resources Commission recommended forwarding the building's National Register nomination to the Keeper for listing in the National Register, to complete the successful federal Investment Tax Credit application.  

Compton City Hall was designed by Harold L. Williams, FAIA, in 1977.
Compton City Hall was constructed almost a century after the Boyle Hotel and is one of the area’s younger resources.  When it opened its doors in 1977, Compton City Hall symbolized a new era for Compton, a city that went from being almost exclusively white before World War II to majority African American by the 1970s.  The architect of the building, Harold L. Williams, FAIA, was an active civic leader in addition to being a successful architect.  His design of Compton City Hall represented his desire to give something back to the African American community. 

The City of Compton received federal funding to perform an energy upgrade to their City Hall that included glazing replacement of windows and doors.  Chattel was hired to evaluate whether or not the building was historic property for purposes of Section 106 Review.  Although Compton City Hall is just 35 years old, we ultimately concluded the building is eligible for listing in the National Register as the finest building designed by Harold L. Williams, FAIA.  In light of these findings, we worked diligently to find a window replacement that respected the historic features of the buildings but also allowed for the energy upgrade to take place.  A number of different glass types were evaluated before coming up with a solution of using a glass panel with a low-E coating manufactured by Pilkington North America, Inc.  Replacement panels were the same thickness and color as existing glass and could be installed in old window frames, making the change almost imperceptible.