[Note: Tom Duff points out that methane is odourless, and that I probably smelt sulfur dioxide around the museum. So I have changed this post to reflect that except in the case of the exploding methane detectors, where I am sure it was methane that was referenced.]
When a major and ugly development a few blocks away was built it required a major amount of special zoning exemptions to get permission to build where they did because of the special restrictions and requirements of building on what is essentially a low grade oil field.
And that, I propose to you, is how it happened. If they could have put another cheap, shitty mini-mall there they would have, but they couldn't.
True to their values. Pure and Unspoiled.
See the following for a discussion of the deeper meaning of the La Brea Tar Pits