Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Worth Preserving

January 24, 2012|By Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times

A downtown Los Angeles theater and office complex built by silent film stars will be converted to a hotel.

Ace Hotel, a Portland, Ore., chain of boutique inns catering to the young and hip, will develop a new outpost in the historic United Artists building at Broadway and 9th Street. The 180-room hotel will occupy the office building's 13 floors, Ace said. It will have a pool, restaurant, bar and 1,600-seat theater when it opens in summer 2013.

"The United Artists building has an intriguing history and is an outstanding example of 1920s gothic architecture," said Alex Calderwood, a co-founder of Ace Hotel. "We look forward to being a part of the ongoing effort to revitalize South Broadway."

The complex at 927 S. Broadway was built in 1927 in part to provide a theater for the movie production company founded by film luminaries Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith.

The Spanish Gothic theater was designed by C. Howard Crane and the office tower by Walker & Eisen, the team behind other local landmarks including the Fine Arts Building downtown and the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills.

Greenfield Partners, a hotel investor based in South Norwalk, Conn., bought the United Artists building for $11 million in October from Wescott Christian Center Inc. One of the founders of Wescott was Gene Scott, a flamboyant preacher whose broadcasts were heard nationally. He died in 2005.

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