At first I stumbled over the word historic, because the hotel was built in 1966. When I read more, though, I realized it is a classic. The architect (Minoru Yamasaki) designed not only the Century City towers, but also the World Trade Center Twin Towers a few years later. The National Trust site has a one-minute video using archival footage to show how little the hotel has changed over the last 40 years, and what sort of events it has hosted (surprise guest appearance: Tricky Dick!)
The picture above came from the Los Angeles Conservancy page. Technically, the hotel has 19 floors but that's not what you can count--some of the floors are subterranean. The photo on the left is from the Los Angeles Public Library collection and was taken in 1985, looking east. And down below is a current shot of the hotel from something called "Luxury Los Angeles Hotel."
So why is it endangered? The owners (Next Century Associates--boo--hiss) announced last December that they wanted to tear it down and build two new towers in its place. More condos and a boutique hotel, yeah!
Although the hotel continues to be operated as a Hyatt Regency, Next Century acquired the Century Plaza one year ago (June 2008) for $366 million--about half a mil per room, according to this story from Hotels Online. Next Century CEO Michael Rosenfeld is quoted as saying, “Properties like the Century Plaza Hotel are one-of-a-kind; they have lasting value in any economic environment.”
That was then...In December, Rosenfeld changed his tune to: "The opportunity to redefine an urban center in one of the great international cities comes along once in a lifetime. " Aw, gee. According to this very upbeat article, Rosenfeld unveiled a $2 billion dollar mixed-use project for the site that will increase tax revenue to the city and employ 5,000 people.
OTOH, the National Trust calls the demolition a total waste. I'm inclined to side with them.
The LA Conservancy has a page explaining what individuals can do to voice their support of the sorta-old classic hotel, and there's also an LA Conservancy Facebook page. Become a fan. AND--Pictures! See the hotel from groundbreaking to now, at this special Facebook page.
One last link, to an LA Times story I haven't even read yet, about the hotel, by Christopher Hawthorne.