The news doesn't really get better for fans of the Googie-style Norms coffee shop on North La Cienega Boulevard. A flurry of conversation in January about a possible threat to Norms — after the new owner of the property filed for and received a demolition permit — was followed by talk of a reprieve. But now Chris Nichols of the LA Conservancy's activist Modern Committee, in his other hat as a modernism-loving editor and columnist at Los Angeles Magazine, reports that the new owner told him last week of extensive development plans for the site. The Norms building might well remain -- the coffee shop itself might even get to stay — but the property will be built up and the parking lot sacrificed to another intensive La Cienega shopping center.
While the land owner says Norms might continue to work on the site — "I’m just trying to build cool shit that people will want” — his architect suggests the time has passed for Norms' regular-folks style on upscale North La Cienega. The customers of Norms also don't care about the Googie architecture that excites Nichols and other modernism fans, says Craig Hodgetts. "Norms is not a good fit on La Cienega,” says Hodgetts. “It’s not appropriate. I think the original audience (for Norms) is really happy and content with the generic In-N-Out Burger type of place.”