Marilyn Monroe’s former home saved from demolition, designated as a historic and cultural monument

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to preserve Marilyn Monroe’s Brentwood home, where the star lived and died, as a Historic-Cultural Monument, saving it from demolition.

The vote ends a nearly year-long saga and effort to save the home from destruction.

Last summer, the city’s Department of Building and Safety issued a demolition permit for the home.

The city council then unanimously approved Councilwoman Traci Park’s emergency motion to block demolition and begin the process of designating the house as a historic building, CNN previously reported. Park represents the district where the house is located.

This week’s preservation vote was the final step in the process for designation, the city’s planning department told CNN.

The home’s owners sued the city over the matter in May, claiming “abuse of power.” A motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the city council’s vote to preserve the home was denied by a judge earlier this month, but the case remains ongoing and should be set for trial later this fall, according to Peter C. Sheridan of Glaser Weil Fink Howard Jordan & Shapiro LLP, an attorney representing the owners.

During a speech in front of the council before the vote Wednesday, Park urged her colleagues to preserve the LA landmark. She referred to the home, like Monroe, as “iconic.”

“There is likely no woman in history or culture who captures the imagination of the public the way Marilyn Monroe did. Even all these years later, her story still resonates and inspires many of us today,” she said. “To lose this piece of history, the only home Marilyn Monroe ever owned, would be a devastating blow for historic preservation, and for a city where less than 3% of historic designations are associated with women’s heritage.”

An aerial view of the house where actress Marilyn Monroe died is seen on July 26, 2002 in Brentwood, California. - Mel Bouzad/Getty Images
An aerial view of the house where actress Marilyn Monroe died is seen on July 26, 2002 in Brentwood, California. - Mel Bouzad/Getty Images

Park said that she did not take the matter lightly and that she has been in communication with nearby residents about their concerns over traffic and safety.

She introduced another motion Wednesday to evaluate tour bus restrictions on the street and surrounding areas, she said.

“My team and I have worked closely with the property owners to assess potentially moving the home to a place where the public might actually be able to visit and spend time,” she said. “I remain hopeful and committed to work with the property owners to see if this can be done in the future, but today, let’s preserve this essential piece of LA’s history and culture.”

Sheridan said in a statement that neither Park “nor her staff have worked closely with the owners, throughout this process or anytime else, to relocate the house to allow for public access.”

“In fact, the opposite is true,” he continued, adding that “Ms. Park has ignored the fact that her constituents – civic and homeowner’s groups in the community – are adamantly against the designation of the home. Ms. Park has also ignored that the City granted dozens of permits to over 14 different prior owners to change the home through numerous remodels, resulting in there being nothing left reflecting Ms. Monroe’s brief time there 60 years ago.”

With the ongoing lawsuit, the homeowners are hoping that the court declares the entire process to save the home from demolition illegal, and directs the city to withdraw its designation, Sheridan said.

The Los Angeles Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving historic places in the city, called Wednesday’s vote a “success.”

“This designation is proof that community advocacy WORKS,” the organization said in an Instagram post, thanking Park for her efforts.

The Brentwood bungalow was built in 1929 and is valued at about $8 million, according to property records. Monroe lived there for just months before she died in 1962 at the age of 36, Park said. The pop culture icon died at the home after overdosing on barbiturates.

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