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Historic Taco Bell building to make 'run for' Irvine on the back of a truck

When the space shuttle Endeavour made its final journey to the California Science Center three years ago, thousands of people followed its 12-mile, two-day trek through the streets of L.A.

Now it’s someone else’s turn: Taco Bell.

Taco Bell’s original restaurant -- opened in the early 1960s and dubbed “Numero Uno” -- will begin a five-hour, 45-mile move on the back of a truck from Downey to Irvine. The building won’t exactly “make a run for the border,” but it’ll be moving in a generally southerly direction. So close enough.

The 53-year-old building’s relocation to Taco Bell headquarters will save it from impending demolition.

“This is arguably the most important restaurant in our company’s history,” Taco Bell Chief Executive Brian Niccol said in statement. “When we heard about the chance of it being demolished, we had to step in.”

During the move, slated to begin at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, the building will roll through Downey, Norwalk, Cerritos, La Palma, Buena Park, Anaheim, Tustin and Orange. 

Taco Bell founder Glen Bell opened the 400-square-foot store in 1962. It closed as a Taco Bell in 1986 but continued to house various taquerias for decades. The shop has been vacant since December 2014.

Plans for new development on the lot put the building at risk of demolition, and like most movements, preserving "Numero Uno" spawned a hashtag: #SaveTacoBell.

Taco Bell said it worked with the conservation group We Are the Next to manage the building’s relocation.

“This building isn't designed by a famous architect, and it's not particularly beautiful in the conventional sense," said We Are the Next Executive Director Katie Rispoli. "But it does demonstrate how even the most ordinary buildings can tell tremendous stories."

For more local and breaking news, follow @sarahparvini on Twitter.

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