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Atlantic Richfield plaza groundbreaking

Atlantic Richfield plaza groundbreaking

Feb. 3, 1969: At groundbreaking ceremonies for the Atlantic Richfield Plaza, Louis B. Lundborg, Bank of America board chairman, hands out shovels to, from left, Rollin Eckis, Atlantic Richfield executive vice president; Eugene E. Trefethen, president of Kaiser Industries; Mayor Sam Yorty; and Leon J. Peters, developer.

This Bruce Cox image appeared in the Feb. 4, 1969, Los Angeles Times. An accompanying story reported:

A blast sent dirt flying into the air Monday, signaling the start of work on buildings to be Southern California’s tallest–the $140 million Atlantic Richfield Plaza.

Two years after the project was announced, ground was broken at the block square downtown site on which twin 52-story office towers will rise.

Civic officials and dignitaries joined the project’s owners and developers for the ceremony even as wrecking crews hacked away at the familiar black and gold Richfield Building.

The Atlantic Richfield Plaza–a joint venture of the Bank of America Kaiser Industries Corp. and the Atlantic Richfield Co. –will go up in the block where the old Richfield Building has stood as a Los Angeles landmark for years.

Rollin Eckis, Atlantic Richfield Co. executive vice president, pointed to the shell of the building being demolished and said:

“This once-beautiful building served as my home for 20 years, but the real thrill is the anticipation of what’s to come.”

Eckis and other officials then set off the blast and shoveled loose earth in a “carreta” pulled by a donkey.

The symbolic gesture was intended to serve as a link between the new towers and the city’s early pueblo origins.

When completed in 1971, the plaza will have 2.5 million square feet of office space and a daytime population of 20,000.

The project will cover the block bounded by 5th, 6th, Figueroa and Flower Sts. …

The project, finished in 1972, was named Arco Plaza. It’s current name is City National Plaza.

For more, check out my recent post Richfield Building sculptures in wrecking yard.

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