downtown los angeles, historic core

Finally! Stunning Garfield Building Up For Sale in Downtown LA

The beautiful 12-story Garfield Building in the foreground, surrounded by construction activity, is now finally on the market for sale

The beautiful 12-story Garfield Building in the foreground, surrounded by construction activity, is now finally on the market for sale

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…

The 12-story Garfield Building sits at 8th and Hill in Downtown LA

The 12-story Garfield Building sits at 8th and Hill in Downtown LA

Originally built in 1929 for the Sun Realty Co, the Garfield Building has various sun patterns throughout the structure including this sunburst terrazzo sidewalk

Originally built in 1929 for the Sun Realty Co, the Garfield Building has various sun patterns throughout the structure including this sunburst terrazzo sidewalk

Original name and address marker by the front entrance

Original name and address marker by the front entrance

Entering the grand marble-clad lobby

Entering the grand marble-clad lobby

Beautiful elevators in the lobby

Beautiful elevators in the lobby

A view of lobby looking toward front entrance

A view of lobby looking toward front entrance

Beautiful glass display cases potentially for art exhibits are present in the lobby

Beautiful glass display cases potentially for art exhibits are present in the lobby

Beautiful gold leaf reliefs accent the grand lobby

Beautiful gold leaf reliefs accent the grand lobby

The remnants of the Coast Federal Savings bank that left in 1991 still remains on the ground floor, which could become a restaurant/bar for a hotel

The remnants of the Coast Federal Savings bank that left in 1991 still remains on the ground floor, which could become a restaurant/bar for a hotel

This cool vintage sign left intact in the bank space with a neat reference to VCR technology

This cool vintage “CamEra” sign left intact in the bank space with a neat reference to VCR technology

The third floor has a unique set back, which could be used as an outdoor patio deck

The third floor has a unique set back, which could be used as an outdoor patio deck

Beautiful fire escape completely left intact

Beautiful fire escape completely left intact

The sun relief on the facade a reference to Sun Realty Company

The sun relief on the facade a reference to Sun Realty Company

A view from the upper floor of the beautiful facade and fire escape

A view from the upper floor of the beautiful facade and fire escape

Closer look at the top of the building and its ornate detailing and arched windows

Closer look at the top of the building and its ornate detailing and arched windows

A view of the Commercial Exchange across the street

A view of the Commercial Exchange across the street

Claud Beelman also designed the beautiful turquoise Eastern Columbia seen in the distance

Claud Beelman also designed the beautiful turquoise Eastern Columbia seen in the distance

A peek inside the top floor penthouse, which has high ceilings once the dropped ceilings are removed

A peek inside the top floor penthouse, which has high ceilings once the dropped ceilings are removed

A view from the roof looking at the gorgeous detailing along the building's parapet

A view from the roof looking at the gorgeous detailing along the building’s parapet

Future rooftop bar and pool?

Future rooftop bar and pool?

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11 Comments

  1. Ernie Pearl says

    I am still salivating from the pics and commentary . Finally this gem is being recognized for what is could become.. There are so many beautiful building like this that sit abandoned.

  2. Thank you, Brigham, for this blog and all the info…I’m constantly checking in with you to discover what’s happening in DTLA. As a resident since 2008, it’s been wonderful to watch the evolution of our neighborhood.

  3. Joe Petrosino says

    WOW I’ve been waiting for this news for the last five years. To me this is the icing on the cake. To see this listed with photos just great. I think it’s perfect for a boutique with apartments whatever. There’s still a sizeable lot to north for new addition or future developments. Truly one of the last great classic buildings.

  4. Michael says

    what a beauty! hotel should be the way to go. There’s already a surplus of (non creative) office space, with more coming online in the next few months. I think it would be wise to reserve this for tourists who are less likely to require a car and thus minimize parking impact.

    i imagine the boutique could keep the Sun theme to align with the general theme of California when visitors come in from New York or Boston in their colder months what better place to accommodate them than the Sun Hotel?

  5. aardvark says

    Between the Garfield and Giannini Place, two of the last grand derelicts will finally be reborn. Great news.

  6. Sebastian says

    I’m sold Brig, I will purchase this building and turn it into the Hotel DTLA deserves. All I need is a loan.

  7. It’s so pretty and reminds me of the building across from Spring Street Park? Does anyone know what’s going on with 433 Spring Street? I thought they were going to turn it into lofts, but I heard this almost three years ago.

  8. thank you brigham for the splendid snaps, i will be returning to LA for a art and architectural visit in late autumn. I hope we can gather with you for a brief meet up. we will be staying at the biltmore hotel for six days, there will be at least 23 of us.
    muchly,
    bob devin jones: artistic director, the studio @ 620.org

  9. I recently heard that the Garfield Bld. sold for $40,000,000…..Does anyone know of the new purposing of it yet?? I’m hoping Apartments or boutique hotel?

  10. EJLAX says

    I can’t confirm if it sold but at 40MM, there is no way it is going to be a hotel. At that price, no one can make a hotel pencil-out. Bank on it becoming apartments or creative office.

  11. I love that space – so amazing – I hope it becomes all it can be.

Comments are closed.