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