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Postcard From DTLA

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On Saturday morning, March 23rd, 25 SAH/SCC members and friends met in Downtown LA in front of Paris Baguette to begin our hard-hat tour of adaptive reuse projects. First stop was the old Hamburger’s Department Store (later May Company) designed by Rosenheim & Curlett in 1906. SAH/SCC Life Member Robert Chattel, AIA, of Chattel, Inc., and Sarah Cahill of Omgivning Architects presented the building’s history and future plans to revitalize it as a mixed-use complex. We got the rare opportunity to experience rooftop views of the Orpheum Theater (G. Albert Lansburgh, 1926) and Eastern Columbia Building (Claud Beelman, 1929; Killefer Flammang Architects, 2006).

After experiencing some of the original remaining historic fabric of the department store, tour-goers visited the Singer Building (Meyer & Holler, 1922) to see the exclusive live/work loft units being created.

We got a bonus visit to the Dutch Chocolate Shop (a.k.a. Finney’s Cafeteria) to see its magnificent Ernest A. Batchelder tile. With groin-vaulted ceilings, elaborate images of Dutch life, and Art Nouveau-inspired motifs, it remains one of the most spectacular DTLA spaces. Cahill shared a bit about the challenges of using the historic space in terms of egress requirements demanded by current building codes.

This event, organized by SAH/SCC Board Member Kimberly Bahnsen McCarron, provided the perfect insight into how thoughtful architects and developers are revitalizing the historic core by using the Broadway Theater and Entertainment District Guide, tax incentives, and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Buildings.

 

 
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