downtown los angeles, historic core

First Look: New Parmelee Lofts Coming to Broadway in Downtown LA

A new adaptive reuse project called Parmelee Lofts is coming to Broadway (on the left with all the tagging on the windows) with 32 live work lofts as well as new ground floor retail.

With so many historic structures along Broadway still abandoned and/or underutilized, it will still be awhile before Broadway is brought up to speed. So that’s why it’s so important to get as many of these structures restored and activated as fast as possible to continue to push the downtown momentum forward. And that’s why I’m so glad to report that another new adaptive reuse project called the Parmelee Lofts is proceeding forward near 7th and Broadway that will add new rental housing and retail to the historic thoroughfare, helping to bridge the prosperity development gap between southern and northern Broadway (basically between the Ace Hotel and Grand Central Market).

Located at 716 S Broadway across from the still relatively new Ross Dress for Less, the six-story Parmelee Building has been sitting empty for over a decade and is currently covered in graffiti and tagging making it even more apparent of its empty status. Thank goodness plans now call for the structure to be converted to 32 new live work rental lofts from the 3rd to 6th floor with 8 units on each floor averaging 956 square feet with 11 foot ceilings according to David Takacs of Takacs Architecture who is designing the adaptive reuse project. A large central light well will be cut into the building, and of course, there will also be a landscaped rooftop deck for residents to enjoy.

Although you can’t tell from the current stucco facade, which was added before the existing owner acquired the property in 1978, the building is actually historic and was built in 1907 where the Z. L. Parmelee Company — a manufacturer and dealer of gas and electric fixtures and artistic wrought metal work that adorned many of the beautiful historic structures of Southern California — occupied the top floor with its factory production facility. Unfortunately, the original historic brick facade cannot be restored. Fortunately, the building will be improved as much as possible with re-stuccoing and new paint.

“Our approach to dealing with the facade from a historical perspective is to keep the simplicity of the stucco facade rather then create a new facade or reconstruct a fake one because the lines, proportions, and massing of the historic facade is present,” said Takacs. “Existing historic clerestory windows which are made of gridded purple glass are currently covered up by stucco and will be exposed and restored.”

In addition to the residential live work lofts upstairs, the ground floor retail space, which could occupy the second floor, will also be cleaned up with a dramatic renovation. The cluttered signage and heavy canopy that currently hangs over the sidewalk will be removed. Takacs will be bringing back the full glass fronting the street after studying historic photos of the building. Existing terrazzo on sidewalk will also be retained and restored. 

The Parmelee Lofts is currently under review by the LA City Planning Dept. Construction is expected to begin in late November with the project completed by early 2017.

Renderings of Parmelee Lofts below courtesy of Takacs Architecture

Rendering shows a renovated ground floor with future retailer and entryway of the Parmelee Lofts facing Broadway

Rendering shows a renovated ground floor with future retailer and entryway of the Parmelee Lofts facing Broadway

Rendering shows the Parmelee Lofts accented by restored gridded purple glass currently hidden underneath stucco

Rendering shows the Parmelee Lofts accented by restored gridded purple glass currently hidden underneath stucco

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13 Comments

  1. corner soul says

    Nice to read that the developer has done their homework, and plans to restore the facade wherever practical… should be a handsome addition to Broadway!

  2. This is great. The building just south of this one is also getting remodeled into creative work lofts.

  3. Michael says

    this is much needed, but I’m skeptical about the stucco / purple tile combo… I know it’s difficult to evaluate with such early renders but there seems to be way too much going on, cream, white, steel, purple. It looks messy

  4. Does anyone have any information about the Sassony Arcade Bld.? You said it is also being converted. Any references?

    • I saw it on a commercial MLS, they are looking for creative tenants to lease out the floors. The listing included renderings of the building remodel, it looked pretty good.

  5. Sebastian says

    What about the corner building that has the KFC and Carl’s Jr. Can’t wait for that to dissapear.

    • carter says

      Isn’t that building a parking structure?
      Yes, the owner could do wonders by emptying out the ground floor retail tenants, replacing with new market rate tenants, and then painting the exterior of the building and steam-cleaning the interior parking areas.
      Doesn’t the Delijani Family own the State theatre building at the corner of 7th & Broadway? Talk about a property in need of a major upgrade and exterior restoration.

      • The State Theatre is slated for a lot of work in the years to come. The church’s lease will expire in about 1.5 years and then they plan to remodel the entire property. They have already applied for three different liquor licenses for the property. They plan to renovate the theatre and put in a restaurant and a club. My guess is they will also renovate the outside as well and look for all market rate tenants.

  6. Happy to see this happen. Does anyone know about Takacs trio of towers slated rise this year? Still on schedule?

  7. Andrew W. says

    The Sassony Arcade Bldg. Next to remodel? It looked pretty cool in Bastille’s music video for the song Pompeii.

  8. I’m in the minority, but I think a lot of this new influx has cased DTLA to change again, but not in a good way. The reason I liked downtown when I moved in was because it was like a hidden gem underneath all the grit & grime.

    Now, rents are sky high and climbing. Rather than keeping the historic core—an area that lacks skyscrapers—historic, developers are coming in & doing obnoxious stuff like wanting to build a 44 story tower on Broadway & 4th.

    The eclectic, bohemian vibe is disappearing & to me, that’s unfortunate. It’s been an artist’s paradise when no one wanted to do much as visit & now it’s becoming yet another LA ‘scene.’ I’m not anti-gentrification, but I despise the overt consumerism & the fact that it’s no longer anywhere near as chill as it was.

    Yep, there are/were definitely some unpleasant things about walking out of the front door and finding a guy passed out in one of the planters… Or a dude jerking off during an early morning walk, but I’ll still go for that crazy stuff if it would get rid of the types who act as though they discovered something new. It was here all along—they just didn’t look close enough to see it until it had expensive restaurants & new museums.

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