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Metro plans to sell historic downtown building for $1

July 19, 2012 | 11:27 am

A historic downtown Los Angeles building will be sold by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Agency for the low price of $1 in an effort to preserve the local landmark.

The notice for sale was posted last week after the L.A. Conservancy convinced Metro the building was of local importance.

The building will go on sale after Metro acquires it from its current owner, Señor Fish, a popular Mexican restaurant. That sale is contingent on funding from the Federal Transportation Administration.

But notices of the impending $1 sale have already been posted online in anticipation of Metro acquiring the property.

The building at 416 E. 1st St. has to be moved to make way for the Regional Connector Project, a light-rail plan intended to close gaps in the transportation system by opening three more stations downtown.

“Ultimately, relocating the building is not an easy feat. We can’t wait a year from now. We have to start getting the word out now, so folks can make plans,” said Dolores Roybal Saltarelli, a planning manager with Metro.

Although the building does not qualify for national protection, it does hold local significance, the L.A. Conservancy asserts. Formerly the Atomic Café, the building was an integral part of the neighborhood and the Los Angeles punk rock scene.

The sale will be made only under the condition the buyer is willing to assume the costs of moving the building by next year, when the Regional Connector Project is set to start.

No offers have been made yet, but Metro officials are hopeful someone will come through by the Dec. 31 deadline.

If the building is not sold by the deadline, Metro will look into incorporating parts of the building into the station or developing a memorial for the building at the new station or at a nearby location.


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-- Melissa Leu