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Historic Southwest Museum Mt. Washington Campus. Photo by Thomas McDonell.

Request for Interest: Historic Southwest Museum Campus and the Casa de Adobe

The Autry, with the active participation of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Trust’s community-based project Steering Committee, seeks organizations to propose innovative and financially sustainable concepts for the revitalization and/or creative reuse of the Southwest Museum (SWM) campus and the Casa de Adobe through a Request for Interest (RFI).

The SWM site’s prominent twelve-acre hillside location features breathtaking views of the L.A. skyline and the San Gabriel Mountains, along with stunning architectural flourishes, including a landmark main building, three-story and seven-story towers, and a dramatic tunnel entrance. One of L.A.’s few properties to have a Metro Gold Line stop named after it, the site is a brief walk from the Southwest Museum Station and fewer than five miles from Downtown L.A.

On nearby Figueroa Street, the Casa de Adobe is a 1917 replica of a nineteenth-century Spanish California rancho. The Casa became part of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian in 1925 and was part of a 2003 merger with the Autry.

The Autry owns the SWM site and the Casa de Adobe through a 2003 merger between the Southwest Museum of the American Indian and leadership of the (then) Autry Western Heritage Museum. Following the merger, the Autry embarked on a comprehensive conservation program to save and protect the SWM’s important collections and identify a viable future for the historic site. This decade-long effort required significant investment of funds and staff to preserve the extensive collections—a critical priority—as well as maintain the aging buildings.

Potential owners/operator(s) will need to demonstrate their qualifications, management and financial capacity, and the community benefits of their ideas. Successful concepts will likely include a combination of uses, including public/educational programming and revenue-generating activities. As part of the site’s future, the Autry is interested in partnering with new owner/operator(s) on programming that is inspired by and draws on the content of the historic Southwest Museum collections.

For comprehensive information and instructions on how to submit a response, please download the Request for Interest (RFI) and see the project Appendix. Responses are due to the Autry by 5:00 p.m. PDT on Monday, June 10, 2019.

See the FAQ page for frequently asked questions about the sites as well as the application process. 

Please send other questions or comments to SouthwestRFI@theAutry.org.


Tours for Respondents

Individuals who plan to respond to the RFI can RSVP to attend informational tours in April and May:

  • Property Tours (Additional tours added for Wednesday, 5/15, 1:00 p.m., and Thursday, 5/16, Noon)

Tour the Southwest Museum site and the Casa de Adobe with representatives of the Autry, National Trust, and City of Los Angeles.

Learn more about the Autry’s collections and its facility for collections care, preservation, and access.


Press/Media Inquiries

Read the press release here.

Media Inquiries, please e-mail: communications@theautry.org

Video

Aerial Video of the Southwest Museum Campus. Footage courtesy Thomas McDonell.

Appendix

Please see below for links and PDFs offering additional background information about the historic Southwest Museum site and Casa de Adobe. This page will continue to be updated and expanded during the RFI period.

Autry Background

Opportunities for Partnerships with the Autry (PDF)
Charles Lummis: Reimagining the American West (KCET-Autry Documentary)
Resources Center of the Autry
Autry Collections 

Property Information, Studies, and Reports

National Treasure Designation and FAQs (2019; PDF)
Estimated Rehabilitation and Restoration Costs (added 4/22/2019; PDF)
Site Maps (added 4/5/2019; PDF)

Southwest Museum Campus

Rehabilitation Study Phase 1 Planning (Levin & Associates, 2006; PDF)
Update & Report (Gruen Associates, 2013; PDF)
Structural and Seismic Engineering Peer Review Memo (Krakower Associates, 2019; PDF)

Casa de Adobe

Feasibility Study (Historic Resource Group, 2018; PDF)
Update & Report (Gruen Associates, 2013; PDF)
Historic Structures Report - Draft (Heritage Architecture & Planning, 2006; PDF)

Previous Community Plans

Southwest Museum: A Use Expansion Plan (Friends of the Southwest Museum, 2007; PDF)
Southwest Museum Rehabilitation: Conceptual Design (PLUM architects/Louisa Van Leer Design; PDF)

Neighborhood, Market, and Demographic Information 

Market and Demographic Research (M+RE, 2019; PDF)
Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council
Highland Park Heritage Trust 
Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council 
Los Angeles Council District 1
Mt. Washington Homeowners Alliance
NELA art 

Public Opinion

Southwest Museum Site Stakeholder Interview Summary Report (National Trust, 2015; PDF)
Southwest Museum Site Online Survey and Results (National Trust, 2015)

Historic Designation

Southwest Museum Nomination in National Register of Historic Places (1984) and Amendment for Poole Wing (2007; PDF)
Southwest Museum Historic-Cultural Monument Application (PDF)
Casa de Adobe Historic-Cultural Monument Application (PDF)
Highland Park Garvanza Historic Preservation Overlay Zone

Preservation and Other Incentive Programs 

Federal Historic Tax Credits 
Federal Historic Tax Credit Syndication 
Mills Act Historical Property Contract Program 
Preservation Easement (LA Conservancy) 
Measure A 
Proposition 68 

Codes and Compliance  

Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation  
California State Historic Building Code
California Environmental Quality Act  

Additional studies and reports will be added after 3/26. Additions will be highlighted for your quick reference.