Preservation Attempt in South Fullerton

I checked out the upcoming Fullerton City Council agenda and noticed an appeal of a Planning Commission decision to approve a new, 185,000 square foot warehouse project at 801 S. Acacia Avenue.

The appeal is being made by Fullerton Heritage who believe that the PC failed to receive enough relevant information about the existing building’s historical significance.

Apparently the structure was designed by noted SoCal architects A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons. It’s front elevation sports a mid-century modern aspect.

The back doesn’t seem very distinguished – metal buildings and canopies. According to FH they used to make sliding doors here including those requested by well-known architects.

Well, good luck to Fullerton Heritage, say I. The City government has almost always turned a blind eye to historic preservation, pretending otherwise, of course. And in the old days “historical” meant old and cutesie – in City Hall it probably still does, and it’s not hard to see staff blow past something like this.

Of course Historic Preservation is generally a more “liberal” idea and in this case the property in question is standing in the way of “economic development” a concept so near and dear to every politician’s self-promotion. It should be fun to observe District 5 Councilman Ahmad Zahra navigate his way between some of his natural constituents and his proclaimed dedication to the hustle of economic development.

42 Replies to “Preservation Attempt in South Fullerton”

  1. The Hammer Museum organized an exhibition about Jones a few years back. Fullerton residents might be familiar with him because of his work locally on the celebrated forever homes. Here’s a little about him:

    Distressing to think that no one at the city thought it worth saving a building by a major mid century southern California architect.

    Perhaps, at least, the office component with the facade can be preserved, as a similar one was from the old Beckmann headquarters, but we all saw how the Kimberly-Clark site was treated by warehouse builders in 5th district—scraped clean of everything, living or not, and then some (they even bought an adjacent smaller site and demolished it too).

    Who gets on a Planning Commission without knowing or appreciating these architects? Is this the vision of the council’s economic development subcommittee? More warehouses? Even the IE is getting tired of that song.

    1. Worse than that, the Planning Commission is also our Landmarks Commission which shows how little the city really cares. I remember when the preservation group got started they had to fight Planning Director Paul Dudley who steadfastly refused to do his job. Meantime Terry Galvan hired 30th Street Architects to mess up facades (think men’s restrooms) with Redevelopment loans.

      1. Haha. Yeah, John Loomis. I know what you mean by men’s room. He liked putting tile underneath the storefronts. The so-called “Parker Building” face brick was stucco’d over.

        Dudley said it didn’t matter because the building “burned down.” But somehow the owners got a rehab and seismic loan.

    2. I don’t know about saving the façade. Seems hardly worth it, but I’m not an authority on such things.

      There’s an Economic Development subcommittee? Who knew? By why, so the politicians can appear to be doing something?

      1. It consisted of Ahmad Zahra and Jennifer Fitzgerald a few years back. There were no posted meeting times, agendas, or notes taken. To this day the public has no idea what happened in those meetings.

        1. Those two became pals, didn’t they? Makes sense both are highly transactional people.

          1. Come to think of it, if I’m not mistaken the Goodman mega warehouse deal was announced sometime after those meetings (?). Behests we’re made in the form of old garbage trucks to Mexico.

    1. Credit where it is due: Fullerton Heritage did get the Hunt campus listed on the National Registry. A lot of good it will do the main portion, owned by Grace Ministries, who I do not think really understand or care about that designation.

  2. I like MCM, art deco, arts and crafts stuff but I don’t see anything but an ugly industrial building. Maybe there is something going on inside but can’t tell from the pics here.

      1. Oh, I had no idea I was in the presence of an architecture scholar, Anonymous. My apologies. What does your erudite, experienced eye tell you about whether this building deserves preservation?

        A famous architect being involved doesn’t automatically make it preservation worthy, especially to the extent of infringing private property rights. Not every building, even by a noted craftsman rises to the level.

        Me, I was just stating my opinion. It doesn’t look that great. As to 1935, not sure your point. I guess “architecture happened after 1935” is a true statement. Vacuously true. Architecture happened before 1935 too. I have examples before and after that I like.

    1. If you want to answer your question, you could do an experiment. Try to make significant additions or changes to your property without planning permission and see how it goes. Even without it being of historical import…

      1. Hoogie loves to watch the peasants be beaten into submission by the heavy, coercive hand of incompetent city bureaucrats! He orgasms just thinking about it. I’ve personally witnessed it many times.

        1. There are common good reasons for requiring buildings being built to code. Necessary evil.

          It conflicts with libertarian ideology, but that’s the way it goes. Reality intrudes. That form of government cannot exist outside of your cranial vacuum.

          1. Hoogie baby, I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow for our regular. Please make sure to be on time. I’ll have photos of Jesus and Sharon Quirk Silva on hand for that fantasy you requested.

  3. I can see both sides of the argument. There would be a stronger argument in leaving the building alone if it were government owned. Since it is privately owned, I think the property owner’s rights are more important than preserving this particular building. Sure, it has mid-century modern touches by a noted architect…but by today’s standards, it looks rather utilitarian and ugly, and good luck finding a modern business willing to rent such an “old” looking building that isn’t designed for modern business efficiencies. Owning buildings is a form an investment and you need an adequate return, otherwise you are running a charity.

    1. “but by today’s standards, it looks rather utilitarian and ugly,”

      Sez you. Today’s “standards?” What are those standards, pray tell? Can you even describe them?

  4. Fullerton used to make lots of things. We’re supposed to remember sliding glass door manufacturers now? The five will vote to approve the project because 1 has no experience, 3 are Republican, and 1 is fake. Play the game and guess who is who.

  5. 1 takes photo ops with baseball players. 1 talks about youth baseball all the time. Plenty of balls to go around.

  6. It’s an ugly building, who gives a shit? I don’t care how good an architect is not every design is a winner.

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