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RE: Can a Historic Building be taken down by the property owner?

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Nels Roselund, SE

South San Gabriel, CA



A building on a historic register is likely to have a concerned group of citizens, or a historical building conservation society [Pasadena Heritage, and Los Angeles Conservancy are examples of influential So. CA groups] who do not want the building demolished, and is prepared to exert strong legal effort to protect the building.  The local group should be contacted right away to begin negotiations and avoid unnecessary law suits.  Sometimes, in a historic district, a store front easement is arranged so that the building is demolished, but the façade is preserved.  A building in which an important historic event took place may need to be preserved completely intact.  An adaptive reuse can sometimes be used to keep the building by changing its use – this can become structurally complicated if the new use includes an increase of occupancy so that compliance with the modern building code is required.  A demolition and façade replication is another approach that has been agreed to.  One building, in the midst of contentious negotiations, mysteriously collapsed overnight.


Nels Roselund

South San Gabriel, CA



Just a short question! If a building is entered onto a City’s historic registry, can the private owner of that building and property choose to sell the property and demolish the building or is it protected from demolition by the consent of the City?



Dennis S. Wish, PE

California Professional Engineer

Structural Engineering Consultant


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