Finally! The beautiful Garfield Building at 8th and Hill, one of the last truly stunning pieces of magnificent architecture in Downtown LA that’s still sitting sadly vacant, has been formally put up for sale this past week listed by brokers Gibran Begum of NGKF and Mike Smith and Jim Halferty of Lee & Associates. Ever since the downtown revitalization started well over a decade ago, every downtown booster (including myself) has hoped for the reactivation of the Garfield Building, a grand 12-story edifice built in 1929 designed by prolific architect Claud Beelman in the Art Deco-Art Nouveau style. Now with the building listed on the market, there is great hope that soon someone will pick up this grande dame and give it the TLC it needs to be brought back to life, and as a result, contribute significantly to the urban revitalization of Downtown LA’s Historic Core.
Located a block away from the new Whole Foods opening in November and catercorner to the Broadway Trade Center, which is undergoing its own amazing restoration project, the Garfield Building is surrounded by exciting construction activity all around. Originally built as the headquarters for the Sun Realty Company, which completed the terracotta-clad structure at the start of the Great Depression, the building’s design includes various sun patterns (referencing the company’s name) including reliefs on the facade as well as a sunburst terrazzo sidewalk in front of the building’s main entrance along 8th Street. The 85-year old historic structure was last occupied in 1991 as a general office building with a former Coast Federal Savings bank branch on the ground floor (the bank is still there with many remnants frozen in time).
Touring the building this week, it was immediately clear to me just how perfect the Garfield Building would be if it was converted to a boutique hotel taking advantage of the building’s unique U-shape layout. Entering the grand marble-clad lobby is breathtaking for future hotel guests with its accented gold leaf detailing, beautiful elevator doors, and classic Art Deco pendant lights hung from the ceiling high above. The lobby is also straddled by two large retail spaces of similar if not equal size (a little less than 3,000 square foot each) that would be perfect with one side being a hotel check-in and lounge area and the other side a hotel restaurant/bar similar to the way the Downtown LA Ace Hotel is laid out today.
One other great feature of the building is a set back on the third floor (providing the unique aforementioned U-shape) that could be converted to an outdoor patio for future hotel guests to lounge and enjoy the city views with a surprisingly intimate vibe tucked away on 8th Street.
The Garfield Building is currently for sale with no specified asking price. For reference, the Commercial Exchange across the street sold last year for about $15 million according to the LA Times. For comparison, the ComEx built in 1926 is about 108,000 square feet large while the Garfield is approximately 102,000 square feet including the basement.
Now, let’s tour the Garfield Building inside…