City Hall Issues Request for Bids to Demolish Plummer Park’s Great Hall / Long Hall

Great Hall / Long Hall (Photo by J. Mark, 2013)
Great Hall / Long Hall (Photo by J. Mark, 2013)
In another step in the seemingly inexorable march toward the demolition of Plummer Park’s Great Hall / Long Hall, the City of West Hollywood has posted a request for bids from contractors for tearing down the historic building.

The request, posted today, stipulates that prospective contractors must join city officials at Plummer Park at 8 a.m. Monday for a review of the site. The publicly posted request for bids doesn’t identify the building to be demolished, but Helen Collins, a senior administrative analyst with the city, confirmed to WEHOville that it is Great Hall / Long Hall.

Bids must be submitted to the City Clerk by 9 a.m. on Jan. 9, at which time they will be opened and read aloud. Once the city gives the approved contractor notice to proceed, the demolition must be completed within 20 days. That means Great Hall / Long Hall, built in the late 1930s as a federal Works Progress Administration project and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, may be gone by the end of next month.

The city’s proposal to demolish Great Hall / Long Hall, also known as the Community Center, as part of a redevelopment of Plummer Park has been a source of major controversy. Neighbors of the park and other West Hollywood residents have organized in a group called Protect Plummer Park to oppose the demolition. The group also has opposed the city’s plans to remove trees from the park, build a 179-space underground parking garage and make other changes to the historic Fiesta Hall.

Stephanie Harker, who heads the Protect Plummer Park group, criticized the city for posting the request for demolition bids the day after Christmas, when many residents are away on holiday or otherwise engaged. And she questioned the city’s request that prospective bidders show up at 8 a.m. Monday to tour Plummer Park — only two business days after the request for bids was published.

The city “is even more manipulative and vindictive than I thought,” Harker said about the posting of the request today. “If they don’t already have a bidder in their back pocket, and I know they do, how do they expect them to show up on Monday morning at 8 a.m.?”

Harker said she will try to organized local residents to show up at the park on Monday morning. “It is very, very difficult because people are out of town on holiday,” she said. “And we have to get everything translated into Russian so we can get the word out to all.” West Hollywood’s Russian-speaking community, largely congregated on the city’s East Side, is a major user of the park.

The city’s Plummer Park redevelopment project came to a halt in February of last year, when the State of California dissolved local redevelopment agencies, removing $14 million of the $41 million that West Hollywood was counting on to help finance the project. In March 2011, the city had borrowed $30 million at an 8 percent interest rate by issuing bonds that must be paid back over 30 years ($3 million of that bond money was set aside for the cost of issuing the bonds and for repayment of the debt not covered by the redevelopment funds). Fees from parking in the underground parking garage were a likely source of revenue for repaying the bonds.

The city has since said that it wants to demolish Great Hall / Long Hall to add more green space to the park but doesn’t intend to building the underground garage. Harker said she believes that after Great Hall / Long Hall is demolished, the city will again raise the idea of a parking garage.

“They are knocking this down so they can say then that they are going to put in the new parking,” she said. “The park be damned, the trees be damned. They want to build a garage.”

City Councilmember John D’Amico introduced a resolution on Dec. 2 that would have the city fix up Great Hall / Long Hall and use the space for cultural events while the discussion continued over what to do about Plummer Park. That resolution failed in a three to two vote, with only Councilmember Jeffrey Prang joining D’Amico in supporting repairs to Great Hall / Long Hall. The council surprised onlookers by directing City Manager Paul Arevalo to come back at its Jan. 21 meeting with a plan for demolishing Great Hall / Long Hall as well as the park’s Tiny Tots pre-school building. At that meeting the council will take a final vote on the demolition.

That decision has been a matter of debate since then, with speakers pro and con at a Dec. 16 City Council hearing and numerous comments on WEHOville.com

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Christopher Roth
Christopher Roth
6 years ago

PLEASE STOP THIS!

Shawn Thompson
Shawn Thompson
6 years ago

A look back at our protest of this attempt to ignore the residents https://www.facebook.com/286504498063913/videos/vb.286504498063913/594981720549521/?type=2&theater

WeHo Ray
WeHo Ray
8 years ago

Total disregard for historic preservation. Once we tear down every older building, they’re gone forever. Leaving us with no reminders of our past. Very sad and disappointing.

Shawn Thompson
Shawn Thompson
8 years ago

Mike Dolan and Rob Berstien , Along with John Duran are trying to say they know more about history than the staff at the States Historic register?
And in fact MR Duran stated on public record that in his opinion the STATE OFFICIALS got it wrong?

And according to him its time to demolish it?

What a embarrassment to our community to have this politician publicly disrespecting out STATE Officials and encouraging that behavior in others!

Shawn Thompson
Shawn Thompson
8 years ago

Well Im waiting to go to the press conference to oppose the city asking for bids to demolish one of the buildings at plummer park even though they told the community they would reach out to the residents and re-work the original plan. Which they never did? Its a sad day for me to think that so many everyday residents with no mega money spin doctors have had to fight a city council that is supposed to do the peoples work for over two years now. The #weho democracy is broken. And today I’m going to stand up and with… Read more »

Mormon Ghome
Mormon Ghome
8 years ago

I hope those stinky buildings are gone before Martin Luther King day. It would be a shame if Obama returned and those shacks were still up.

Professor Shivers
Professor Shivers
8 years ago

Will someone PLEASE sue the hell out of this city? And
don’t forget that it was Land and Heilman who made sure that Nash will most probably demolish his beautiful building on Fountain. SOMEONE?

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
8 years ago

Cathy, i think the winning bid will have “20 Working days, from the date of the Notice to Proceed..” so they will basically have a month starting 1/22. interestingly they must also provide 24 hour on site security throughout the process. but your larger question remains: why this sudden and panicky rush to demolish preemptively before the $1 million worth of alternate designs have even surfaced? the new plan is that there is no plan? why risk making a mockery of all previous assurances that the stakeholders would have real input into alternate plans? in true neocon fashion the “tear-em-down… Read more »

Virginia Gillick
Virginia Gillick
8 years ago

I have said this before and I will say it again. I moved here 24 years ago because I loved what I saw in West Hollywood. Very active Rent Control, Gay Rights, Aids Groups Galore, a low key/low cost City with lots of heart. Where did it all go and why? Money, the root of all evil, must be in this with clenched fists. It is curious that the direction was given to the City Manager to get bids. I do not believe that the direction was to set the timetable so that it would narrow the field of possible… Read more »

voolavex
voolavex
8 years ago

So we should make sure there are lots of bidders. Because surely that is not the object of the short notice.

Cathy
Cathy
8 years ago

The timing is interesting at best. WHY the RUSH city hall? So, the notice for the RFP went out the Thursday before New Years, the mandatory walk through is THIS Monday, the bids have to be at city hall no later than Jan. 9th….to be opened IMMEDIATELY, the decision will be made and then the winning bidder has to complete demolition within 20 days…..OH, and the next council meeting to vote on demolition is Jan. 21st! So…..the winning bidder will have from the 21st – the 29th to knock the Nationally Designated Historic Great Hall/Long Hall down…I am so curious…..What… Read more »

Weho Insider
Weho Insider
8 years ago

This is what the city does and it has likely been the plan all along. 2 years ago they tore down the library in the middle of the night (after putting up tarps to cover it and have it guarded by security and then claim they needed the extra security because Obama was in town for a fundraiser at the House of Blues) and lied about their plans, and this was an architecturally relevant building designed by EDWARD FICKETT. Even his widow was caught off guard and DEVASTATED that they would knock it down in such manipulative fashion. The city… Read more »

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