Miracle Mile Residential Association Newsletter • December 2013

Miracle Mile
Residential Association

Newsletter • December 2013 • Los Angeles, California                                                                                                    

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New Apartment Project Planned behind Dominguez-Wilshire Building
Miracle Mile: Then and Now
Preferential Parking Primer

The Emperor's State of Undress • James O'Sullivan
The MMRA 2013 Annual Poll is Still Open
Yuko Kitchen • Restaurant Review by Angela Sanders
Miracle Mile Real Estate • November 2013 Sales

(...below the fold...)

Happy Holidays!

Santa Claus arrives in the Miracle Mile, circa 1955.
(Courtesy of the Metro Transporation Library and Archive.)

New Apartment Project Planned
behind Dominguez-Wilshire Building

New Apartment Project Planned
behind Dominguez-Wilshire Building

Carnegie Hill Properties will construct a new apartment complex on the parking lot behind the historic Dominquez-Wilshire building, which occupies the southern block of Wilshire Boulevard between South Cloverdale Avenue and South Cochran Avenue. The project, with the address: 727 South Cloverdale Avenue, will consist of 42 rental units in a four-story structure, 45 feet in height. It will be built above a four-level subterranean garage with 62 residential parking spaces and 184 commercial parking spaces to serve businesses located in the Dominguez-Wilshire building.

The façade will be constructed of a stone cast material with a strong vertical element to complement the art deco design of the Dominguez-Wilshire building and comply with the guidelines of the Miracle Mile Community Design Overlay District. The project is designed by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects – who also designed a recently completed 6-unit condominium building at 749 South Cloverdale Avenue.

Representatives of Carnegie Hill Properties made a presentation at the November 7th Miracle Mile Residential Association board meeting. The board of directors responded favorably to the project with the caveat that the limited street parking on Cloverdale and Cochran be protected by prohibiting the tenants of the new complex from securing Preferential Parking or Guest Parking permits. Carnegie Hill officials offered to place language in the leases to that effect.
This is the second infill development built on a surface parking lot behind a historically significant Miracle Mile building. Work began in early July on the long-delayed “Desmond’s on Wilshire” project: a 175-unit apartment building being constructed on the parking lot behind the Desmond’s building at 5500 Wilshire Boulevard [see August 2013 Newsletter].
A Brief History of the Dominguez-Wilshire building:
The Dominguez-Wilshire building is an Art Deco landmark located at 5410 Wilshire Boulevard. The property was named after its developers, the Dominguez family – heirs to the first land grant given in California by King Carlos III of Spain. Juan José Dominguez (1736–1809), a Spanish soldier, arrived in California in 1769 and with Junípero Serra traveled to San Juan Capistrano, San Gabriel, and Monterey. Dominguez was granted a concession of 75,000 acres southwest of Los Angeles in 1784 that became known as Rancho San Pedro.

View of the rear of the Dominguez-Wilshire building, circa 1931.
(Courtesy of the Mott-Merge Collection; California State Library.)

In the late 1920s, the Dominguez heirs commissioned the architectural firm of Morgan, Walls and Clements to design a new tower for their Wilshire Boulevard property. They followed the automobile-related concept of the Gilbert Underwood design for the nearby Desmond’s building and included a large parking lot at the rear of the building. Construction was completed in 1930 and clothiers Myer Siegel & Company leased space on the first and second floors. In the late 1930s the Wetherby Kayser apparel store and C. H. Baker, a women’s shoe store, also took up residence.

Dr. John Hiss purchased the Dominguez-Wilshire building in 1958 and for a time it was known as the “Hiss Tower.” Carnegie Hill Properties acquired the property in the late 1990s and launched a full-scale interior and exterior restoration that received a Preservation Award from the Los Angeles Conservancy in 2000.

[Image credits: 727 Cloverdale project courtesy of Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects.]

For additional information:

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects: 727 Cloverdale PowerPoint presentation


Miracle Mile: Then and Now

The Miracle Mile: Then and Now

Justin Fields and his fiancée, Christine Haeberman, have lived in the Miracle Mile since 2006. They first met in high school, but didn’t begin a serious romance until after college (thankfully, they admit, given the short shelf-life of most high school relationships).

Justin’s father grew up in the area and it was sort of a homecoming when they found an apartment here. They enjoy walking around the neighborhood and were struck by how many of the places and landmarks featured in old family photos still exist. It was this connection between the past and the present that inspired them to combine their love of history and photography to create a collection of “Then and Now” images of the Miracle Mile.

Justin and Christine utilized selected images from the Historical Photo Collection at the Miracle Mile Residential Association [MMRA] website to document the past and then carefully replicated the angle and framing of those images to document how these landmarks look today.

Click on images to enlarge.

As you can see, the pairing of old and new photographs vividly displays how the rich architectural heritage of the Miracle Mile is still very much in evidence. It also reinforces how critical it is that these historical structures are preserved – a cause that is important to Justin and Christine. “With all the changes coming to the Miracle Mile in the next decade – including the subway and the redesigns planned for Petersen Museum and LACMA – we wanted to capture our community as it exists now,” Justin said.

Justin and Christine [left] generously offered these photos for posting on the MMRA website. We liked them so much that we created a page on the website entitled Miracle Mile: Then and Now Photographs. This will be an on-going series of paired images juxtaposing the past and the present – so, check the website from time-to-time for updates.

The MMRA is grateful to Justin and Christine for these fascinating photographs – and we congratulate them on their impending wedding next spring.

Add your family photos to
the Miracle Mile Historic Photo Collection...

The most popular feature of the MMRA website is our collection of vintage photographs of iconic buildings along the Miracle Mile, but we lack vintage images of homes and apartment buildings in our residential area. If you have family photos or snapshots with exterior views of your home, building, or street we would love to add them to our collection. Send us a JPEG or TIFF – or we will be happy to scan the original photographs for you and return them unharmed. You can contact us at:

[Images Copyright © 2013 by Justin Fields. All rights reserved.]


Preferential Parking Primer

Preferential Parking

How to get Preferential Parking
or change the parking restrictions
if you already have it…

Parking is always a top concern for residents and the parking situation in the Miracle Mile isn’t improving. New apartment complexes are either under construction or soon will be on the large surface parking lots behind the Desmond’s and Dominguez-Wilshire buildings, forcing office tenants to temporarily find parking elsewhere. The advent of the Academy Museum and the construction of the subway portals at La Brea and Fairfax will greatly stress the available street parking in the area. Although many blocks in the Miracle Mile have Preferential Parking not all of them restrict parking solely to permit-holders 24 hours a day.
The Miracle Mile area consists of three Preferential Parking Districts [PPD]: No. 2, No. 36, and No. 78. If you are uncertain which PPD you reside in click on the maps below to find out:

Click on images to enlarge.

Recently the residents of the 700 block of South Genesee Avenue submitted a petition to revise the Preferential Parking regulations on their street from permit parking only Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM, to permit parking only 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like many blocks immediately north and south of Wilshire Boulevard, South Genesee has older multiple-unit buildings with very limited or no off-street parking. Streets near Museum Row also attract large numbers of museum visitors seeking free parking.
Lance Fisher, a long-time resident of South Genesee, organized a petition drive to collect the necessary number of signatures to change the parking restrictions. The petition is now waiting to be vetted by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation [LADOT]. Unfortunately, due to cut backs in city services it can take many months for petitions to go through the verification and approval process.
In the MMRA Annual Poll many people commented that they either wanted Preferential Parking on their street or wished to revise the existing permit-only restrictions. Here’s a link to a guide prepared by LADOT that explains how to attain Preferential Parking or change the restrictions if your block already has Preferential Parking. A blank petition in the approved format can be found at the end of the guide.
Preferential Parking and what sort of restrictions a given block has are solely a matter for the residents of that block to determine – but given the extraordinary amount of new development in the works for the Miracle Mile this is a good time for neighbors to review and discuss the parking situations on their street.

Information on Filing a Petition for Parking Restrictions

If you have questions regarding Preferential Parking or need assistance contact:

Felix Valde, Jr.
Parking Permits Division, LADOT
 (213) 473-8260


The Emperor's State of Undress
• A Message from James O'Sullivan

The Emperor’s State of Undress

A message from James O’Sullivan, MMRA President

Our annual MMRA meetings are always a time of review and reflection for me. It is also a time of renewed energy – particularly last month’s annual meeting when I looked out at the overflow crowd of residents in attendance. It is very gratifying and energizing to see that we have so many people living in the Miracle Mile who really care about what happens here.
In listening to your comments and questions during the meeting – and in my individual conversations with you before and after the meeting – this is the main “take-away” for me:
•You are really concerned about traffic in general and traffic as it relates to new development.
•For most of you development is a mysterious process you don’t really understand.
•You especially don’t understand why some buildings need city approval and others do not.
•And you understandably have no idea why certain projects get approved while others do not.
Now, I know that not everyone is going to want to get involved in planning issues, but it is very clear to me after our annual meeting that you are a very smart group and that if the planning process was demystified many of you could pick it up in a flash. So, we are adding a “Planning” page to the MMRA website and we’ll post material there that will help you understand how planning decisions are made.  Soon we will also begin posting information on upcoming projects and developments on a “Projects” page on our website to give you insight on their impacts and how decisions are made about them.
The devil is always in the details. Some projects are so outrageous it is simple to understand their conspicuous flaws. Others, on the surface, don’t seem so bad – but in reality violate various local plans or elements of the General Plan and would upset the careful balance of infrastructure and livability in the area.
In order to make an informed decision you need to be able to understand the history of the area and the various land use principles at play, like the General Plan, Community Plan, and other policies and guidelines.
There are several major projects on the drawing board for the Miracle Mile: the Academy Museum, the Museum Square office building, the proposed renovations of LACMA, the subway construction and ensuing transit-oriented high density projects. Not to mention all the new apartment construction either underway or soon to be started. The Miracle Mile is being transformed and if we don’t stay on our toes this community will pay a steep price.
Traditionally we have always focused on one project at a time because that is how the city approaches development.  However, we now have multiple projects dropped into our laps and we have no choice but to address them all at once. Fortunately, we were already moving in the direction of looking at development holistically. Instead of looking at how a single new building on Wilshire Boulevard will impact us, we believe we must start looking at how these projects affect the larger area and how each adds to the cumulative effects of all the projects that have come before it.
That means concentrating on traffic above all else. Our street system (major, secondary, collector and – increasingly – residential streets) is maxed out and our rapid transportation system is still an unfulfilled dream.
It is time for a new discussion on how traffic moves and doesn’t move in Los Angeles.  The reality is that if we had the subway system of New York, Chicago or a number of other cities we would be approaching development in a whole different light. But we don’t have that system and we can no longer allow the city to continue its reckless behavior of approving project after project when most of our streets have no more capacity to absorb any more traffic. It is time to tell the emperor that he has no clothes!
The increasing traffic we’re experiencing is not exclusive to the Miracle Mile. I’ve talked to leaders of other groups surrounding us and they are experiencing the increase in traffic also. Neighborhoods to the south of us actually get the traffic – especially cut through traffic – we experience before we do. Then neighborhoods to the north experience it after us. East and west traffic has similar responses from our neighbors.  
The Purple Line subway extension will eventually help somewhat with east/west traffic when it finally arrives, but not north/south traffic.  In fact, gridlock is increasing citywide and the city appears powerless or unwilling to do anything about it.
I believe ease of access to needed goods and services will be the greatest challenge of the next decade as development continues to bring thousands-upon-thousands of additional motorists into the Miracle Mile and surrounding areas. We need an awareness of how traffic flows have changed in the last 30 years and to understand why. Today a motorist passing through the Miracle Mile could live in Silver Lake and work in Santa Monica. Work/live proximity relationships central to many city-planning strategies broke down many years ago and have become mere boilerplate added to city documents. People are traveling farther and farther from where they can afford to live to get where they must go in order to work.
Additionally, it is not just people living within the city limits who are using our streets. The Framework Element (General Plan) quoted in every project needing city approval stated in 2002 that “projected growth outside of the city accounts for over 60% of the total vehicle miles traveled within the city's corporate limits, due to regional cross trips, and accounts for 80% of the projected increase in freeway travel time by 2010.”
That was bad enough, but in the same document the city basically threw up its hands and produced a Statement of Overriding Considerations that said there was nothing they could do to mitigate serious environmental impacts to air and traffic.
So, out of necessity we must move beyond the traditional means of analyzing new projects and their impact on traffic and our well-being. This is not a developer vs. resident vs. city matter because the truth is we are all in this together whether we want to admit it or not. When you are sitting in traffic (whether in a car, bus or any other form of motorized transportation) you are stuck ­– and you’re not getting home any faster than the next person. We are polluting the air and leaving a terrible legacy to our children.
We need to do better – and we will do better. It’s time to start pointing out the “naked Emperors” who run our City. 

[Top image: "The Emperor's New Clothes" illustration, circa 1849, by Vilhelm Pedersen (1820-1859); traffic jam photograph by Blair Pittman, 1972, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration.]


The MMRA 2013 Annual Poll is Still Open

The MMRA 2013 Annual Poll is Still Open…

Click map to enlarge.

The Miracle Mile Residential Association [MMRA] 2013 Annual Poll is still open and will remain so until December 31, 2013. Since its launch in November over 100 people have participated. The poll is not just for residents living within the boundaries of the MMRA [see map above], we are also interested in how residents in neighboring areas feel, too.
Your participation provides the MMRA with greater insight into the community’s opinions regarding critical issues such as traffic, development, and safety. We will share the poll results in the February 2014 newsletter.
Poll participants are anonymous and your honesty is welcomed. There are over 50 questions with opportunities to make specific comments. And you can skip over questions that don't interest or apply to you. So, here’s your chance to speak out and really be heard. Just click on this link:

Miracle Mile Residential Association
2013 Annual Poll


Yuko Kitchen • Restaurant Review by Angela Sanders

Yuko Kitchen

Restaurant Review
by Angela Sanders

It was that time of the day when my stomach started rumbling and all I could think about was food. I was bored with all the usual places and felt like trying something new – but I didn’t want to drive anywhere.  So, I went to my go-to site, Yelp, to find something yummy and healthy within walking distance. And there I found my new favorite lunch spot: Yuko Kitchen.

Yuko Kitchen is a little hidden gem in the middle of Miracle Mile. Nestled on Dunsmuir just south of Wilshire, most people would miss this little Japanese café unless they were really looking for it. When you enter the beautifully decorated patio area you are given a warm welcome by their friendly staff.

I decided on their vegetable plate and their mint lemonade – which was delicious. I could tell that it was freshly squeezed and the combination of sweet and sour was perfect for a warm sunny day.  I was shocked to see how big the portions were when my vegetable plate arrived. The plate consisted of teriyaki tofu and rice, vegetable rolls, salad, vegetable miso soup, and a shot of blended sweet strawberry juice. Everything was delicious – and for under ten dollars it’s a great bargain, too.

The meal was a great balance of healthy yet satisfying food. I enjoyed every bite and taste. I was full and happy, but I was told that I must try their green tea babies. I ordered one and was blown away by how delicious it was. What looked like a little taco was delicate, sweet, and a perfect ending to a wonderful meal.

The overall experience left me wanting to try other items on their menu. I’ve been back a few more times since then and from their spicy salmon rice cake to their “Vegee Bow-ito” (burrito made of veggies and rice wrapped in seaweed), Yuko Kitchen has never disappointed. 

[Images courtesy of Angela Sanders.]

Yuko Kitchen – Japanese Cafe
5484 Wilshire Blvd (enter on South Dunsmuir Avenue)
Hours: Monday–Saturday 11:00 AM – 9:30 PM
Closed Sunday


The Miracle Mile Restaurant Guide


The MMRA Newsletter welcomes our newest contributor, Angela Sanders. Angela will be covering all things edible in and around the Miracle Mile. If you have a comment or tip for Angela you can contact her via:


Mirale Mile Real Estate • November 2013 Sales

Miracle Mile Real Estate

November 2013 Sales

833 South Detroit St.

both units: 2 bdrm, 1 bath

lot: 6,703 sq. ft.
listing price: $899,000
sale price: $1,001,000
sale date: 11-4-2013


(...below the fold...)


MMRA Board Meeting
December 5, 2013
@ 7 PM

Board meetings
are held at
the Berch Lounge
Westside Jewish
Community Center

5870 Olympic Blvd.
on the first Thursday
of each month.

All are welcome.

In the news:



Coming January 2014

Miracle Mile Farmers' Market
Every Wednesday 11 AM ~ 3 PM

Wilshire Courtyard

For lost and found pets,
crime and traffic alerts,
and breaking news
follow us on Twitter:



Miracle Mile
Residential Association

James O’Sullivan, President

Alice S. Cassidy, Vice President

Joseph Steins, Treasurer

Ken Hixon, Vice President/
Director of Communications
Follow on Twitter | Friend on Facebook | Forward to Friend 

Copyright © 2013 Miracle Mile Residential Association.  All rights reserved.

Miracle Mile Residential Association
P.O. Box 361295
Los Angles, CA 90036-9495


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