A glossy cascade of escalators stands empty behind the glass of the former Westside Pavilion, awaiting the building’s repurposing as a new tech office complex.

The former Westside Pavilion, as seen from Pico Bl. West Los Angeles, Calif., January 15, 2019. (Katherine Nilsen/The Pirate)

Katherine Nielsen/ Pirate staff writer

A glossy cascade of escalators stands empty behind the glass of the former Westside Pavilion, awaiting the building’s repurposing as a new tech office complex.

A popular local hangout in the 1980’s and ‘90’s, the Westside Pavilion also served as the backdrop for music videos, such as Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’ ” and movies like “Clueless.”  Most recently, the soundtrack of rain hammering ceiling-panes serenaded metal barricades, vacant storefronts, and unmanned kiosks inside the vacant building. Utility buckets scattering the floor captured rain leaks, and shop window signs boasted “50-70% off“ closing sales.   

Owners have closed the once-thriving mall, and Google (formally known in corporate circles as Alphabet) plans to remake the building into its new Los Angeles digs.

The Westside Pavilion’s food court during its final days of operation. West Los Angeles, Calif., January 15, 2019. (Katherine Nilsen/The Pirate)
« 1 of 3 »

Designed by architect Jon Jerde, who also designed structures for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the Westside Pavilion opened in 1985 after considerable local concerns over traffic and parking. But on its website, the Los Angeles Conservancy, a local landmark non-profit, noted that “Jerde felt the commercial shopping center was becoming the new ‘town square’ of American life.” In that vein, Jerde’s Westside Pavilion was “designed to evoke the feel of an open-air European shopping district, with four pavilions linked together by arching skylights.” The Conservancy further adds that the mall eventually became “an integral part of the West Los Angeles landscape.“

The status of the mall has been uncertain since at least 2018, when its owners projected a 2021 closing date. However, mall employees report that shop owners were recently given little warning to vacate the property.  One shopkeeper stated that they were under the impression that the mall would stay open for several years; then, in December 2018, management informed store-owners that they must vacate by January 31, 2019. (The shopkeeper interviewed wished to remain anonymous for this story.)  

This left mall businesses little time to capitalize on holiday sale liquidation and marketing. By the end of January of this year, most stores had sold or removed all merchandise and left; just a few stores stayed open through the final closing.

According to the LA Times, property owner Hudson Pacific plans to convert 80% of the complex into offices for tech companies including Google and Netflix.  The remaining 20% will continue to house the current Landmark Theatre and Westside Tavern.

Re-christened “One Westside,” expansive renovation is expected to be completed by 2022, as per a 14-year lease signed by Google.

However, as recently reported in the LAist, new tech employees and locals alike will still be able to stop for lunch at the iconic Apple Pan café’, across the street on Pico Boulevard.  

The Apple Pan opened in 1947 and remained family-run through three generations. But Sunny Sherman, granddaughter of founders Ellen and Alan Baker, recently sold the 70-year-old business.  Sherman sold the restaurant and its recipes to care for her 90-year-old mother, but will remain on staff to advise the new owners, movie moguls and longtime customers Irving and Shelli Azoff.

As per Sherman’s caveat that its new owners change nothing, the Azoffs, plan to keep the local landmark intact.  And as insurance, Sherman will keep ownership of the land under the restaurant.

Bon appétit!


Categories: News