downtown los angeles, historic core

1889 Victorian Pershing Hotel Begins Construction on 69 Affordable Units in Downtown LA

The Pershing Hotel begins construction, turning this priceless 1889 Victorian beauty into 69 affordable housing units at 5th and Main in the Historic Core (Photo: Killefer Flammang Architects)

The Pershing Hotel begins construction this week turning this priceless 1889 Victorian beauty into 69 affordable housing units at 5th and Main in the Historic Core (Photo: Killefer Flammang Architects)

Late last week, the LA Times reported that one of Downtown LA’s most beautiful examples of Victorian architecture (the kind we usually associate with San Francisco with those lovely bay windows and ornate facade details) will be receiving some major positive upgrades. Located at 5th and Main, the Victorian beauty known as the Pershing Hotel that was built in 1889 by real estate developer Charles Charnock, will be converted to 69 units of affordable housing for the homeless or very low income population and will be called the New Pershing Apartments. The $15 million project will be designed by Killefer Flammang Architects and take about one year to complete.

Construction began this week with green construction fencing wrapping around the perimeter of the structure along 5th and Main Street. The current 3-story Pershing Hotel, owned by Skid Row Housing Trust, will retain the original Victorian facade through a “shoring process” while a brand new 5-story structure housing 69 affordable units (65 studios and 4 one bedrooms) will be incorporated behind the facade along with 3,800 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. The process of incorporating new with old into a single structure, referred to as “facadectomy,” is a common practice in older cities with a large stock of historic structures, especially along the East Coast.

“To reduce the impact on the existing facades, the top two floors of the new building will be stepped back,” said Michael Alvidrez, who is the Executive Director of the Skid Row Housing Trust.

In addition, exterior materials for the new building will include brick, tile and plaster drawing from the Victorian and surrounding historic context according to Killefer Flammang. A landscaped 2,200 square-foot courtyard will serve as a “tranquil assembly area” and patio space with resident gardens will highlight the fourth and fifth levels.

Part of the solution to Downtown LA’s biggest challenge to clean up the gritty streets of the Historic Core depends on housing many of the area’s destitute in permanent supportive housing. I view this as a very positive step forward toward reaching that ultimate goal, which some view as the holy grail of the Downtown LA urban revitalization.

Cleaning up 5th and Main, in particular, is a very important step as this intersection has been known to be a troublesome spot for not only the destitute but for the new residents and businesses of the Historic Core as well. With all that said, our eventual goal should not be to house all the area’s poor in one concentrated location, as this will inevitably turn the area into “the projects,” but should be interspersed with market rate developments to help balance out the neighborhood, which is already happening.

The Pershing Hotel at 5th and Main is one of the last Victorian structures in Downtown LA built in 1889

The Pershing Hotel at 5th and Main is one of the few remaining Victorian structures in Downtown LA built in 1889

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  1. Bawww shucks… I was all stoked when I heard about this project because I thought it’d be AWESOME to live there. Too bad I’m not homeless. :(

    • Dtla resident says

      Wow. You sound like a real AWESOME dude, Stephen. Here’s hoping you can luck out and be homeless someday.

  2. Brigham… The move to permanent supportive housing with on site services in skid row started in 2005. At the time there were over 25 sro hotels that were owned and operated by Skid Row Housing trust , but none incorporated that model. It is good to see that Skid Row Housing trust is using that model. The only complaint I have is that providing meals should be a part of that process. But thanks Jan Perry and Gil Cedillo the model we have now is coming on line and with the United Way and the LA Chamber of Commerce promoting that type of housing for the chronically homeless, we saw 500 section 8 vouchers spread out among those who had been living in the skid row sros who did not need to be living with the services , thus they were given vouchers and allowed to move anywhere they could find section 8 housing . Thus, skid row housing trust and SRO must house the most intractable , which was their mission to begin with, instead of evicting them for stupid reasons like they had done over the years. Awesome to see that they will have to do what they claimed to have been doing for years now do it. Thanks to the Los Angeles Business community that actually creates the wealth the builds the housing and provides the taxes for the section 8 subsidies holding these providers accountable .. and now they are all working together to right the situation… we will have stability downtown.. you just watch.

  3. Crorrection; oops there were over 25 hotels owned and operated by both skid row housing trust and sro housing corporation by the time the permanent supportive housing with onsite services was implemented in skid row..

  4. sebastian says

    I agree with Brig that these homeless shelters should be spread out, because DT is becoming more residential, and the homeless atract unecessary activities like Drug Dealers, and prostitutes.

  5. Christine says

    At the risk of sounding very NIMBY.. I was really sad to here this news. Not because I’m against the idea of low income housing in general, I would love for everyone to have a home, but I don’t understand why low income housing is so concentrated in downtown LA. Wouldn’t it be better to spread this type of development into different areas to help people rehabilitate instead of concentrating them near others of the same situation who might not necessarily be a good influence as they get off the streets? It makes me nervous that the drug dealing and using I’ve witnessed on Main street will continue.. I’m fully aware that not everyone who is low income suffers from addiction but I’ve seen people shooting up in the parking lot just a block from this location so it makes me nervous that now it’ll be happening in this building and attract more individuals of the same situation making the corner unsafe.

    I believe the building being re-done directly across the street from it is also going to become low income housing (according to the construction workers I spoke with this past week). It seems like these 2 buildings might become a potential divider between the shops and restaurants at 6th and main and those at 4th and main that both cater to a higher income cliental.

    I’ve been watching the construction for a year hoping that this beautiful building would become condos since most new housing in DTLA is only rentals. I think the historic core could benefit from more permanent residents who take an active interest in their community – both in helping those of lower income with volunteer efforts and assistance, and in helping keep the streets clean (think neighborhood watch). I’ll be staying hopeful as this building opens that the historic exterior stays preserved and that the residents who move in will stay off the streets and find employment.

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