Bartlett Building

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215 West 7th Street, Los Angeles

Bartlett Building

The Bartlett Building used to be LA's tallest building (Credit: Los Angeles; Wiki Commons)
Building Information
Developer Union Oil
Architect John Parkinson and Edwin Bergstrom
Management Company Campion and Company
Number of Units 139
Number of Floors 14
Year Built 1911
Construction Method Steel
Type of Roof IRMA
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215 West 7th Street, Los Angeles
Distance to Public Transit Bus less than one block; Subway walking distance
Region Los Angeles
Municipality Los Angeles
Zoning C5-4D
Title of Land Mixed Use



The Bartlett Building was constructed as an office building in 1911, housing Union Oil's headquarters and was, at the time, known by the same name. Over the ensuing years, the Bartlett Building was also known as the Security Pacific Bank Building, while it housed that company's offices. The Beaux Arts and Art Deco style building offer large, roomy lofts with industrial sized windows and ceilings. The Bartlett Building is a unique residence in the heart of the Los Angeles Jewellery District. [1] [2]


The Bartlett Building is located in Los Angeles' Jewellery District, part of the city's downtown historic area. It is considered the largest Jewellery District in the United States, doing billions of dollars in business each year. [3] The area offers numerous restaurants and markets, many just feet from the Bartlett's front doors. There are a number of parks in the area less than a half mile away. The Museum of Contemporary Art is just over a half mile away and there are a number of schools and libraries nearby. There are many boutiques in the area and, as residents are located at the heart of the Jewellery District, opportunities to explore for the perfect ring or necklace abound. Bus routes are incredibly convenient, as they're less than 100 feet from the Bartlett's entrance, while the subway is less than a half mile away. [4] For sports minded residents, both the Staple Center and Chavez Ravine are easily accessible from the Bartlett Building.


This steel structured building was designed by architects John Parkinson and Edwin Bergstrom. It was constructed as an office building originally meant to house Union Oil. In 1937, the building went through the first of several major alterations. Its facade was altered to better suit the Art Deco aesthetic that dominated the day, rather than the then passe Beaux Arts style of its original design. The lower levels of the building were resurfaced in limestone and engrained with a multiple-industry relief to mark the building as commercial space. The building was again renovated in 2002, this time by developer Barry Shy, to transform it into a mixed use building, where the upper floors would become residential lofts. [5] This transformation took place under the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, an urban revitalization project undertaken by the City of Los Angeles to, initially, encourage urban living in the downtown core, cut down the excess stock of office space and maintain historical architecture in the downtown core. It has since been expanded beyond just downtown LA. [6]

Layout and Features

Units in the Bartlett building offer open-plan, loft-living ranging from studios to two bedrooms. Floors are polished concrete with walls offering exposed brick, and ceilings are brick barrel. [7] The large industrial-style windows provide plenty of light and city views. Washrooms feature custom vanities, ceramic tile showers, tile floors, and 'decorative steel shelving'. Kitchens offer residents maple cabinets, granite or porcelain counters and stainless steel appliances. Units also feature custom built closets designed to appear vintage while some units have balconies. [8] Ceilings can reach 18 feet. [9]

Floor Plans

Floor plans for the Bartlett Building have not been made available, though video layouts are provided by the developer. [10]


The Bartlett Building offers residents a wide-range of amenities, including original subway flooring tiles, historical architectural features throughout the building's common-spaces, marble iron staircases and glass mosaics. [11] [12] Residents have access to a roof-top deck, 24 hour security and 24 hour valet parking.


Bartlett Building Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No

Pets are allowed in the Bartlett, as are rentals. There are no age restrictions on living in the building. Not all units have balconies, impacting the ability of residents to bring in barbeques.


Constructed in 1911, this building speaks to its era when considering green amenities. However, there are plenty of benefits for green-minded residents of the Bartlett. Public transit is nearby, as are numerous parks. The 24 hour valet may seem like an odd green feature, but searching for a parking space is a surprisingly high contributor to Green-house gas emissions. The community, itself, is walkable and offers local residents the opportunity to do most of their errands without the need of their car.


The Union Oil Building, upon completion, was the tallest building in Los Angeles until 1916. The Bartlett Building appeared in the 1951 film D.O.A. Its lobby was used as a meeting place for the film's characters. [13]

In 2007, the Bartlett Building became, locally, infamous for a battle its residents waged over pornography. One of the businesses in the building signed a lease with developer Barry Shy. Nowhere in the lease (or, allegedly, during discussions of what the business owner would sell in the space) did it prevent the business owner from selling pornographic videos. Some residents in the building, however, felt these sales were inappropriate. The developer eventually agreed, putting an end to the business owners ability to sell the videos in the building's space. Given the nature of the owner's business plan (both video stores and pornographic videos), one suspects that this is a problem that would have sorted itself out in short order, anyway. [14]

At one point, water pumps in the building began to malfunction increasing the danger to residents if fire broke out. The developer was required to pay the LA Fire Department to park a fire truck outside of the building for several days in case a fire did break out. At one point, there was concern that the Los Angeles Fire Marshall would require a complete evacuation of the building, until such time as the water pump issues were solved. [15]


  1. Glass Steel and Stone Bartlett Building
  2. Bartlett Building History
  3. Wikipedia - Jewellery District
  4. Walkscore 651 South Spring Street
  5. Bartlett Building History
  6. City of Los Angeles Reuse Ordinance
  7. LA Lofts - Bartlett
  8. Bartlett Lofts
  9. Downtown Lofts - Bartlett
  10. Bartlett Video Layout
  11. LA Lofts - Bartlett
  12. Bartlett Lofts
  13. Bartlett Building - History
  14. Curbed - Porn V. Bartlett
  15. Curbed - Bartlett Building

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