Future of West Hollywood's Historic El Mirador Apartment Building Still Uncertain

The future of one of the most iconic buildings in West Hollywood -- and possibly in Los Angeles County -- is still uncertain.

On Monday night, West Hollywood City Council members John Heilman, Abbe Land, John D'Amico and John Duran were unable to agree on plans for the historic El Mirador apartment building on Fountain Avenue.

After a long-running dispute over renovating the property, owner Jerome Nash now wants to turn it into either a condo complex or an urban inn.

Heilman and Land were against Nash's proposal, saying it would create an unwelcome precedent for other apartment buildings in need of rehab.

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D'Amico and Duran were willing to work with Nash in some way. "This is one of the handful of gems that define the city," Duran said. "I don't want to be responsible for its demolition."

Instead of voting on the proposal, West Hollywood City Council members tabled the vote to July 2 so West Hollywood Mayor Jeff Prang could weigh in -- he wasn't present at the hearing.

El Mirador, a Churrigueresque Spanish Colonial Revival style apartment building on Fountain and Sweetzer avenues, has been home to movie star Jean Harlow, Academy Award-winning cinematographer Conrad Hall and other Hollywood types.

Built in 1929, the future of the city-designated landmark has been bogged down in controversy for years. Nash says city officials have been unfair in their dealings with him as he tries to rehab the building. City officials say Nash hasn't been so easy to work with either.

The two sides have been at loggerheads for more than six years, with Nash threatening to sue the city and suggesting that, if a satisfactory deal isn't made, El Mirador will be torn down.

"If they don't allow any use for this building," Nash told L.A. Weekly in August, 2011, "and I can't rehab it, it will have to be torn down."

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.


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