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).
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
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.