Vibiana View (2011)

The restored Cathedral of Saint Vibiana, from the rooftop garden of the DoubleTree Hotel in the Little Tokyo section of Downtown Los Angeles. Named for a third-century martyred virgin, the cathedral was consecrated in 1876. It soon proved inadequate for the growing Archdiocese’s growing population, but a succession of archbishops were unwilling to fund a new cathedral.

The 1994 Northridge earthquake severely damaged the building, and provided the long-overdue justification for replacing it. Preservationist groups began a lengthy legal battle to prevent its demolition, ending with an agreement to sell the Saint Vibiana site to the city in exchange for a parcel around the corner from City Hall that became the site of the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

The City sold the Saint Vibiana site to private real estate developers. Although the Archdiocese claimed that restoring the old cathedral would cost upwards of $18 million, the developers were able to do it for $6 million. The site is now a private venue for weddings, conferences, and events called “Vibiana.”

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