Here’s What We Know About the Demolition of The Smell

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The long-running, all ages, DIY venue The Smell and several of its neighbors are having a crappy Memorial Day weekend, because Friday afternoon they all received notice that an application had been filed to demolish much of their block of buildings in Downtown Los Angeles. The notices were posted on the doors of businesses along Main Street between Second and Third streets, and apply to the trailblazing gay bar New Jalisco Bar, venue/watering hole the Five Star Bar, the Downtown Independent movie theater, and the Shish Kabob restaurant, in addition to The Smell.

The Smell owner Jim Smith posted the notice on the venue’s Facebook page today. The owners of three of the businesses on the block tell Curbed that they only found out about the planned demo via this announcement.

A photo of the notice announcing the planned demolition. Bianca Barragan

This is basically a heads-up notice alerting the tenants that an application to demolish about half of the block has been filed. (For some reason, the LA Department of Building and Safety website shows this information for the addresses of the businesses closest to the corner of Third and Main—like the Five Star and the Shish Kabob—and for the Downtown Independent, but not for the addresses of the New Jalisco and The Smell, though they did receive the notice.)

Once a notice like this is posted, there’s a 30-day waiting period before the demolition permit can be issued, but the blue notice does ominously remind that, as long as the plan jibes with city codes, “public comment will have no impact on this project.” So basically, say goodbye.

Though it’s not known at this time what the plan for the block is post-demolition, the owner of the buildings is L&R Group of Companies, more commonly known as Joe’s Auto Parks and WallyPark; the properties on demo watch came under new ownership last year, city records show. This half of the block already has two Joe’s Auto Parking lots on it. (The Historic-Cultural landmark Higgins Lofts building on Second and Main has a different owner and isn’t part of this demolition derby.)

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