Darryl Holter, the owner of Felix Chevrolet, was all Cheshire smiles as the neon Felix the Cat Sign and Chevrolet showroom was not protected as a landmark by City Council this morning.
The status of the cat was shelved today by City Council, which prevents the neon cat sign and showroom landmark status, without an actual vote.
In yet another twist of the cat tail, City Council today placed the recommendation that the Felix Chevrolet Showroom and Neon Roof Sign be designated as a
Historical-Cultural monument as a "Receive and File" before advocates
from either side spoke in chambers this morning. Afterwards, co-author of the nomination, Charles Fisher stated "This has the same impact
as a denial." Now advocates for the sign are forced to start over, or
ask for a review at the Federal level.
The cat may have had no chance with the heavy lobbying by sign and dealership owner Darryl Holter who wanted to prevent landmark status given to the sign
and showroom. His plans to develop that, and other sites in the
Figueroa Corridor, had strong political support
by Mayor Villaraigosa, and Councilwoman
Landmark status was recommended by the Cultural Heritage Commission, and then had a split vote by the Planning and Land Use Management Committee October 2 that placed the recommendation to be decided in front of City Council today. By shelving it as the deadline for the landmark nomination is close to expiring, and no real preservation protection, the Felix the Cat Neon sign may soon become development roadkill.
"Felix the Cat loses one of it's nine lives" [Daily Trojan]
Ray Smith comments at a previous post: Those of us still working for W. Heath Sign Company (now Federal Heath Sign Co.) scattered across the U.S. are disappointed by the recent City Council action. The Felix sign and many others in L.A. designed by Wayne Heath or produced by his company are still standing as a testament to his innovative design sense and understanding of how signs contribute to a successful business.