The Landmarks Commission discussed preserving the building formerly known as Callahan’s and its purview over the interior of the old post office at its meeting last week.

Commissioners are excited to declare the Streamline Moderne-style restaurant building — now occupied by Ingo’s Tasty Diner — as a landmark, but they asked city officials to return with a more detailed historical report.

The building’s new owner, Bob Lynn — also the owner of Ingo’s, a farm-to-table diner — presented a richer historical record than what was provided by the city’s consultant.

He’d tracked down the original Callahan family in Oklahoma and gave them one of the Callahan’s signs. Mike Callahan, the son of the original owners, gave the new owners a slew of old photographs of the building, which was built in 1946.

The Callahan’s operated their diner out of the 1946 building for about 40 years.

The restaurant, which sits on west side of the Wilshire Boulevard property, has only had three owners. Vienna Pastry, which is on the east side of the property, has only had two owners.

Before it was Vienna Pastry, it was Grove’s Bakery.

Lynn relayed a story he’d heard about Mae West’s limo pulling up in front of Callahan’s for a pineapple upside-down cake.

Additionally, the new owners exposed original skylights — a move that scored accolades from Santa Monica Conservancy head Carol Lemlein.

The building’s new owners filed the application for landmark status, which, if approved, would protect the historical building, making it harder to demolish or alter.

Lynn did ask for flexibility in the back of the building, where he’d like to make modifications to accommodate for loading docks and trash containers.

A few commissioners were ready to move the application forward but others asked for the consultants to present a more nuanced picture of the property in order to create a more robust finding.

Ingo’s is currently serving dinner six nights a week with plans to serve three meals a day.

Old post office

The new owners of Santa Monica’s old post office building on Fifth Street are looking to make some changes and will likely have to get permission from both City Council and the Landmarks Commission.

Council places a preservation covenant on the 1937 building back in 2013 after the United States Postal Service announced plans to shutter and sell it.

A production company, SkyDance, bought the space in 2014.

New owners are seeking to make some changes to the interior of the building, which would have to be reviewed by council, rather than the commission, because it was not regularly open to the public at the time of the building’s preservation.

Commissioners are particularly interested in the lobby and expressed frustration about the bifurcated approach.

Council, city attorneys said, could possibly amend the Landmarks Ordinance to allow the commission purview over both the interior and the exterior.

An attorney representing the new building owner said they were disappointed that they’d have to go to council to make these changes, pointing out that they tried to keep these changes to a minimum.

dave@www.smdp.com

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