The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted today to add Miracle Mile icon Tom Bergin's to the city's list of Historic-Cultural Monuments, despite objections from the shuttered tavern's owner.
The Irish bar-restaurant, which closed in 2018, was a fixture on South Fairfax Avenue in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood for nearly 70 years.
Tom Bergin's owners argued that decades of renovations and alterations rendered the structure "dismembered," and that a historic designation would limit its use and thus limit potential buyers of the building.
"The misconception is that if it is nominated the business will magically reopen, and that's not the case," co-owner Derek Schreck said in March.
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A letter submitted June 4 by Benjamin M. Reznik, an attorney representing the owners, further spelled out their opposition to the designation.
"...As the now closed Tom Bergin's business consistently lost money year over year, designation of the business as an HCM would completely undermine the owner's reasonable investment backed expectations and result in a taking without just compensation," Reznik wrote.
The Department of City Planning found that the building "exemplifies significant contributions to the broad cultural, economic or social history of the nation, state, city or community'' but should not be recognized for its architecture, although the applicant, the Los Angeles Conservancy, had argued for an architectural designation, as well.
The City Council amended the recommendation to remove the parking lot as part of the historic designation before today's 14-0 vote.
Originally named Tom Bergin's Old Horseshoe Tavern and Thoroughbred Club, the bar first opened in 1936 at 6110 Wilshire Blvd. and moved to its present-day location on South Fairfax Avenue in 1949.
"Tom Bergin's was a safe space before we knew what safes space were. It was a place that everyone could go to,'' said Jim O'Sullivan, president of the Miracle Mile Residential Association.