Chase Bank Uncovers Frieze but Only for the Moment

Chase on Vine at Sunset

Many Larchmont area residents were thrilled to see the scaffolding going up and the plaster coming down at the Chase Bank branch on Larchmont this past week as a delicate band of decorative urns, scallops and clock-shaped icons was revealed as a ribbon wrapped around the original brick building. Could it be Chase was bringing the original facade back to its former glory? It definitely seemed possible as JP Morgan Chase has done a marvelous job restoring and highlighting many of the former Home Savings branch buildings that sit on prominent corners around LA, including one on Vine and Sunset.

Windows revealed

Hopeful, the Buzz phoned the Chase Branch Asst Manager who referred us to the Facility Manager who referred us to Corporate Communications and by the end of three days we were beginning to realize perhaps this was not a remarkable restoration in progress. In fact, Chase will be covering all that glorious detail work back up, making it again the boring box it currently is, but this time to proper building code specs. The work is expected to last 4-6 weeks.

According to Gary Kishner, Chase Media Relations, the stucco facade of the bank branch is being opened up because of its poor structural integrity. “The stucco overlay was sagging and was a danger. It’s a safety concern – we don’t want stucco falling on people.” The current facade was not up to code and will be rebuilt (re-stuccoed) to today’s building code. Kishner stated that the original brick and mortar facade was irreparable and it could not be restored.

This is truly a disappointment to those of us intrigued and beguiled with the early architecture of our neighborhood. While we know brick buildings still stand throughout our nation that are much older than this, it seems improbable that the original facade could not be saved. It is more likely that it just won’t be saved due to financial constraints. It is truly a sad reality as we see more of the facade uncovered, including some stately windows and learn that the ribbon of detailed decoration wraps its way around the corner. We only wish JP Morgan Chase would see the opportunity here to bring this piece of history back to its glory and make our boulevard proud.

 

(Check out our post about film locations and see an early version of the Chase building seen in “Off Limits”, 1953.)

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About Julie Grist

Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

12 thoughts on “Chase Bank Uncovers Frieze but Only for the Moment

  1. That’s a shame is right! I was hoping Chase would embrace that wonderful facade. Is there anything us Chase customers can do? Anyone we can write to and encourage them to find a way to reveal the facade before it’s too late?

  2. Too bad, that would have been a welcome change to the ol’ boring stucco box that its been. I’ve been with that corner bank (building) for 20+ years. Back when it was, well I forget which bank it was back then.

    For years the old bank(s) there shared space with a contract post office. And way back in the day, banks on the ‘mont out numbered realty offices.

  3. We’ve not had an easy time getting email addresses from Chase representatives, but if you want to let them know what you think we’d suggest you call Dan Beers, Facility Manager for Chase at 818-244-1049 and / or email the Asst Manager at Chase Larchmont branch, Aimee at aimee.r.mejia@chase.com. We don’t know if it will make any difference, but let your opinion be heard!

    1. Hi Julie,

      Why not start a petition on change.org? With a little more information it could be easily done.

      Cheers,
      Walter Schlosser

  4. It would Definitely be Costly to Restore… but Chase has Plenty of Money.. considering they open a New Location every other Day…. You will Notice Downtown LA Buildings are Completely being Restored… that are 10x Times as Big… and they are doing a Beautiful Job… even with the Old Theaters on Broadway Blvd… It’s a Shame that Such a Nice Old Village Style street like Larchmont Blvd can’t stop business’s from Stuccoing over Historic Architecture.

  5. One has to blame the current love affair with retro Modernist 1960 and 70’s design. Covering up is an easier design solution.The charm of Larchmont is its scale and evolving mix of retail rather than the quality of its architecture. Eventually the bank will go and there will be another chance to do the right thing.

  6. Let JP Morgan Chase alone. Just as the Hamburger Hamlet up the street, they are trying to avoid a potential disaster. . Isn’t that enough? They way I see it, their primary business is not historical architecture. It’s clear if you look closely, that building is a mess. Once beautiful. Oh, I see. Let’s let all the businesses pay for every “want” and desire in our country in our neighborhood. Why not demand that the wealthy neighbors fund the restoration? Yes, thats it! The one percent…..they’ll pay for it! Our local Community organizers are at it again! come on and get a life neighbors!

  7. Chase is well within their rights bringing their building to code. In addition, they are under no obligation to take the building back to what it once was. Those who opposed the HPOZ several years ago wanted the City to include Larchmont Blvd. in the HPOZ ordinance. Unfortunately, the political will was to exempt commercial buildings. Now you have situations like Chase and frankly many other buildings on Larchmont that look disgraceful…let’s start with the site of the former Larchmont Hardware…..

  8. Oh, yes, by all means, let’s all let poor JP Morgan Chase alone! The nation’s largest bank, run by derivatives king Jamie Dimon, who has consistently argued against government regulation of Wall Street and even argued against the implementation of the weak tea Volcker role. Poor Mr. Dimon and his fellow banksters have absolutely no responsibility for enhancing or beautifying the neighborhoods from which they rake in billions and billions and give back what? Nothing.

    1. love your post. if you’re. biz and cone to exploit what larchmont has built and atteacts customers……… then bite the bullet ans do what is right. there is no question as to what is right for Larchmont. Make an effort Chase. I already moved to Gilmore Bank no other place like it. just like a bank should be.

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