11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Century Plaza Hotel

Year Listed: 2009
Location: Los Angeles, California
Threat: Development

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Photo: Andrew Hara

Significance

Opened in 1966 as the centerpiece of Century City, this 19-story curved hotel has been a prominent Los Angeles landmark for more than four decades. From its prime perch fronting the spectacular fountains on the Avenue of the Stars, the Century Plaza’s sweeping modern design strongly evokes the exuberant optimism of the 1960s. Designed by renowned architect Minoru Yamasaki, who would later design New York’s World Trade Center, the hotel incorporates Yamasaki’s ornamental, textural, and sculptural trademarks.

The hotel, which fueled the development of Century City and forged its reputation as a world-class destination, has been a gathering place for celebrities, politicians, and world dignitaries since its opening day. Once nicknamed the "West Coast White House," the Century Plaza was a favorite of both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Nixon hosted a celebration for the Apollo 11 astronauts here, while Reagan presided over two presidential victory celebrations in the hotel's vast ballroom.

The hotel was purchased by Next Century Associates in May of 2008. The new owner promptly called the hotel "a jewel in my hometown," but less than six months later, announced plans to raze the building and replace it with two 600-foot towers.