Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mills Act: Learning by Example Webinar

The California Office of Historic Preservation calls the Mills Act the "single most important economic incentive program in California for the restoration and preservation of qualified historic buildings by private property owners."  

On Tuesday, March 25, join Robert Chattel, AIA and Marissa Moshier for a special roundtable webinar with experts working with Mills Act programs in cities across California.  Learn from case studies, gain insight on implementing and managing Mills Act contracts and weigh the financial impacts of the program. The webinar is part of the education program of the California Preservation Foundation.

Robert Chattel, AIA will moderate the webinar.  Other speakers include Mike Buhler, San Francisco Heritage; Lambert Giessinger, City of Los Angeles; Susan Parks, City/County of San Francisco; Marissa Moshier, Chattel, Inc. and City of Orange; John Ciampa, City of San Clemente; Carol Lemlein, Santa Monica Conservancy; Patricia Johnson-Conner, Los Angeles County Assessor; and Shannon Lauchner, Office of Historic Preservation.

Robert Chattel, AIA, Moderator
Robert Chattel, AIA is both a licensed general contractor and architect in California with more than 30 years’ experience in historic preservation. He established Chattel, Inc. Historic Preservation Consultants in 1994. For the past four years, Chattel, Inc. has represented the City of Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources in its Mills Act Historical Property Contract Program. Over that time Chattel, Inc. reviewed application materials, conducted pre-approval inspections, and prepared summary reports with photographs for over 150 eligible properties. Applicants were consulted on site at their property to ensure that recently completed, in progress, and proposed future work conforms to the Secretary's Standards. For private property owners, the firm has a successful track record preparing Mills Act contracts for commercial and residential buildings, including the Burr House in San Francisco and numerous adaptive reuse projects in Los Angeles. For inclusion in the Mills Act program, Chattel, Inc. prepares nominations to achieve local historic designation, as necessary, and consults with local project reviewers while developing scopes of work that address historic preservation objectives. In addition, for properties with existing Mills Act contracts, including Chase Knolls Garden Apartments and Pan American Lofts in Los Angeles, Chattel consults on prioritization for implementation of rehabilitation and maintenance work. Robert Chattel previously served as City of Los Angeles Mills Act Historical Property Contracts Manager. He currently serves as President of the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco-based 143 year old California Historical Society. 


Marissa Moshier, Chattel, Inc., Speaker
Marissa Moshier, Chattel, Inc. associate, helped the City of Orange implement its Mills Act program last year as a contract historic preservation planner.  With the largest National Register-listed historic district in California, Orange has approximately 200 existing Mills Act contracts.  For the nine new contracts approved in 2013, Marissa conducted pre-approval inspections and coordinated with property owners to develop critical work plans.  As part of her contract planning work for Orange, Marissa will continue to advise City staff on improvements to the Mills Act application process and develop a long-term strategy for regular inspections of Mills Act properties. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Santa Barbara Mission's Ongoing Rehabilitation

Chattel has been managing historic preservation projects at Santa Barbara Mission for several years, including work being implemented under a federal Save America's Treasures (SAT) matching grant, administered by the National Park Service with the help of California Missions Foundation. A recent KEYT news article and video documents progress, and the need to raise money to provide the grant matching funds. The video focuses on the need for rehabilitation of the convento wing, which contains some of the oldest walls at the Mission property, including walls of adobe dating from the late 1700s, and later walls of sandstone and concrete. Conservator, Griswold Conservation Associates, and Structural Engineer, Roselund Engineering Company, have devised a plan to repair the most degraded portions of the convento. The work will be implemented under the SAT grant, as matching funds are raised. Check out local news station KEYT's coverage for more information.
View NW of south portion of Mission convento wing (located immediately west of the church building)
View NW of front (south) convento wing arcade. The walls shown here are of sandstone construction. They have been covered in an impermeable Portland cement render, which traps moisture in the underlying materials, causing deterioration. Similarly, the impermeable tile floor prohibits water from evaporating. Thus, moisture escapes where it can, which in this case is at the sandstone door and window surrounds (details pictured below). 
Detail of typical convento damage at sandstone window surround. Visibly apparent is the crumbing sandstone, which is literally piling up on windowsills, evidence of substantial deterioration of materials.
Detail of typical convento damage at sandstone window surround, showing sandstone grains collecting, signaling damage.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chattel's Holiday Celebrations

Chattel LA team enjoyed dinner in the mezzanine at Terroni in downtown Los Angeles
Chattel Los Angeles celebrated the holiday season on December 17, 2013 at Terroni, a new restaurant housed in a historic banking hall at 802 S. Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles. In the setting of a sleek private dining room which was once the mezzanine of National City Bank, our team enjoyed a multi-course meal of southern Italian food and wine, exchanged holiday gifts, and reflected on our firm’s growth and accomplishments.

Chattel is especially proud to be actively involved in revitalization of the vibrant neighborhood surrounding Terroni. In 2006, Chattel prepared a Historic-Cultural Monument Nomination and Mills Act Contract and consulted on the rehabilitation of the ornate National City Bank Building housing the restaurant.


The mezzanine before rehabilitation

The banking hall before rehabilitation

The main dining area
The rehabilitated dining room in the former banking hall (brighamyen.com)


Chattel San Francisco's Holiday Celebration 

Chattel San Francisco attended California Historical Society's annual holiday event, Historic Libations. Chattel associates Shannon Ferguson and Justin Greving sampled classic California cocktails, such as a Negroni and Boothby Milk Punch, crafted by expert mixologists, and toasted the history of mixed drinks along with guests Mike and Erin Buhler, San Francisco Heritage; Erik Kneer, Holmes Culley; Gretchen Hilyard, San Francisco Planning Department; Johnny Hayes, Funcheap.com; and Brian Turner, National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Shannon Ferguson and Johnny Hayes study the cocktail menu


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Chattel Receives National Preservation Honor Award


The oldest remaining commercial building in Boyle Heights is set prominently at the intersection of First and Boyle, outlined against a backdrop of downtown Los Angeles skyscrapers.
Chattel received a National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for its work on rehabilitation of the Boyle Hotel in Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. The project is one of 18 award winners honored by the National Trust on November 1, 2013 during its annual National Preservation Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. The awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through the preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage.


Jorge Hernandez, National Trust for Historic Preservation Vice Chair Board of Trustees, Maria Cabildo, ELACC President, Linda Dishman, LA Conservancy Executive Director, and Stephanie Meeks, National Trust for Historic Preservation President and Chief Executive Officer at the awards ceremony.
 The 1889 Victorian-era Boyle Hotel/Cummings Block was home to mariachis and an important gathering place in Boyle Heights for these musicians, as well as for other social and civic events. Unfortunately, the hotel had fallen into disrepair after years of neglect and was at risk of being demolished. ELACC purchased the building and secured financing for the over $20 million rehabilitation and addition. As historic preservation consultant on the project, Chattel worked with nonprofit developer East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC), architect Richard Barron, and structural engineer Mike Krakower to restore the building’s distinctive corner cupola, rehabilitate 30 affordable units in the historic building and add 21 units in a new addition, with 4,150 square feet of retail space that includes a Mariachi Cultural Center.

The National Preservation Honor Award is the latest recognition for the Boyle Hotel. The project also received a Los Angeles Conservancy award in May 2013.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chattel Helps Implement Mills Act Programs in Two California Cities


Representing City staff, Chattel helped implement Mills Act programs in two California cities, Los Angeles and Orange.  Can we help your City?

Robert Chattel discusses Mills Act program requirements with property owners.
Chattel has a very strong understanding of procedures for evaluating and processing Mills Act contracts. For the past four years, Chattel represented the City of Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources in its Mills Act Historical Property Contract Program. The firm reviewed application materials, conducted pre-approval inspections, and prepared summary reports with photographs for over 60 eligible properties this year. Applicants were consulted on site at their property to ensure that recently completed, in progress, and proposed future work conforms to the Secretary's Standards. Chattel often recommends prioritization of specific tasks to ensure Mills Act savings go toward critical projects first, such as structural retrofit work. Los Angeles expects to have a total of about 750 Mills Act properties under contract this year.

Consultant Charlie Fisher (left) and Chattel Associate Shane Swerdlow (right)
review rehabilitation plans for a proposed Mills Act property.
Similarly, Chattel helped the City of Orange implement its Mills Act program this year.  With the largest National Register-listed historic district in California, Orange has approximately 200 existing Mills Act contracts and 9 new contracts scheduled to be approved this year. Chattel conducted pre-approval inspections and coordinated with property owners to develop critical work plans. As part of its contract planning work for Orange, Chattel will continue to advise City staff on improvements to the Mills Act application process and develop a long-term strategy for regular inspections of Mills Act properties.


A Mills Act property in the City of Orange.






Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Very Chattel Halloween


Happy Halloween from Chattel!

Chattel LA staff celebrate Halloween in style.
Chattel SF staff dress up for the night.