Cocoanut Grove to be razed to build school campus


LOS ANGELES (AP) – The School District has signed an agreement with a preservation group to allow the razing of the historic Cocoanut Grove nightclub to make way for a new campus.

The Los Angeles Unified School District will pay $4 million to fund historic school conservation so the Los Angeles Conservancy will drop a lawsuit that had been holding up the destruction of the Cocoanut Grove. It’s the last building standing on the former site of the Ambassador Hotel, where U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968.


“At this point, we as an organization want to move on,” Linda Dishman, the conservancy’s executive director, said Jan. 15. “What’s left at the Ambassador site is not really historic preservation at this point, and there’s a lot of other buildings we can focus on.”

The school district plans to build three schools on the site to house 4,000 students.

On Nov. 29, however, a Superior Court judge approved an injunction preventing the demolition of the nightclub until the lawsuit was resolved.

The district originally planned to preserve the Cocoanut Grove as part of the school site but determined that it can’t withstand an earthquake and would be unsafe.

“There’s no way we can say to parents, ‘Don’t worry, we think it’s OK,’ if our structural engineers say that we can’t,” Kevin Reed, the district’s general counsel, said in November.


The Cocoanut Grove once was the city’s leading nightclub, featuring Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.