1950s postcard from Trader Vic’s Beverly Hills, from the collection of Mimi Payne
A bunch of news erupted last week (and lots of links to my blog — thanks for that!). Here’s a quick roundup:
Plans have been changed — condos are out, Waldorf is in
When word first broke one year ago here on Humu Kon Tiki that the Trader Vic’s was threatened, the plans called for the corner of Wilshire & Santa Monica (where the Trader Vic’s sits on Hilton property) to be turned into a new tower of condominiums. The LA Times reports the developers have found significant resistance from the community, and have now revised their plan. The condo idea has been tossed, and instead they will build a 120-room Waldorf hotel on the spot. The plans still call for the Trader Vic’s to be demolished. The new plans will likely be voted on in the fall of 2007.
Trader Vic’s is considering a move
When the Trader Vic’s in Chicago tragically closed under similar circumstances in 2005, they immedieately made plans to save as much of the decor as possible, and move into a new Chicago location, partnered with Harry Carey restaurants. In July, my sources at Trader Vic’s told me that this would likely be the case in Bevely Hills, as well, and that appears to have been confirmed last week by John Maatta, who is on the board of directors, per a report from Franklin Avenue. The jury is still out on how well this has worked in Chicago: the new location hasn’t opened, and as far as I know, hasn’t even been announced. It’s better to have a new Vic’s than no Vic’s at all, but make no mistake — the new Vic’s will not have the same character, by a longshot. There’s simply no recreating 50+ years of history. The loss of the original Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s would be a tragedy, period.
How to act to save the Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s
I wish I had a single, clear, easy thing you can do, but it’s not quite that easy. There is a growing groundswell of resistance, from many different sides, to the Hilton developments, so you’re in good company. Because there are so many different sorts of folks who want to save the Trader Vic’s (which is a good thing!), the effort looks a bit like a hydra at the moment. Just pick a head, or two, or three, and run with them. The best bet right now would be to get in contact with the LA Conservancy’s Modern Committee. The LA Conservancy has experience with historic sites threatened by new development, and have made some great strides in saving Los Angeles landmarks. The Modern Committee’s discussion about the Trader Vic’s is here. There are, naturally, also folks at Tiki Central who are trying to figure out how best to act, and are starting to dovetail with the Mod Com efforts. You can follow the Tiki Central thread here. And of course, there’s the option of contacting the City of Beverly Hills directly, they’ve created an email address just for comments about this project: HiltonHotelComments@beverlyhills.org. Throw your hat into the various rings, and be ready to be part of the action once the plans of attack come together. Let everyone know you’re there to help.
- Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s Days May Be Numbered [Humu Kon Tiki]
- Luxury wrapped in gridlock [LA Times]
- Trader Vic’s Chicago Torch Passes to Harry Caray’s [Humu Kon Tiki]
- EXCLUSIVE: Trader Vic’s Will Look For a New Home [Franklin Avenue]
- Trader Vic’s to be demolished? [LottaLiving.com]
- Trader Vic’s(Beverly Hills)fate sealed? Not if we can help it! [Tiki Central]