Biscuit Company Lofts

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1850 Industrial Street, Los Angeles

Biscuit Company Lofts
BiscuitCompanyLofts-LA.jpg

Biscuit Company Lofts by night
Building Information
Architect EJ Eckel
Management Company Linear City LLC
Number of Units 104
Number of Floors 7
Year Built 1925
Construction Method Steel
Type of Roof Concrete
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1850 Industrial Street, Los Angeles
Distance to Public Transit over 10 bus stops nearby
Region Los Angeles
Municipality Los Angeles
Zoning M3-1
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

In the first two decades of the twentieth century, Los Angeles was growing. Because of the residential growth, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce proactively undertook a multi-year project surveying the industrial potential of Los Angeles. As part of this project, the contacted industrial leaders from around the country, including the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco). The Chamber of Commerce attempted to prove to Nabisco that Los Angeles was an ideal location for a factory serving the west coast.


The Nabisco executives considered the proposal and decided to build their West Coast Headquarters at 1850 Industrial Street. The architect who designed the building was EJ Eckel, the Dean of American architects and the founder of the Eckel & Aldrich architectural firm. The construction company was Emil Pozzo Construction. When the building was completed, it quickly became an architectural sensation. As well as offices, the building contained two separate factories: one for biscuits and another exclusively for sugar wafers.[1]


Nabisco sold the factory building in the 1960's.


When Linear City purchased the Biscuit Company at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the 180,000 square foot warehouse was less than forty percent occupied. Being an industrial building built in 1925, there was no parking, no green space, and substandard fire-life-safety systems. Linear City hired architect Alex Istanbullu and general contractor Swinerton to convert the building into live/work lofts. Together, they worked on a conversion plan that would not only address the above problems, but also preserve the architectural heritage of the building.


The conversion finished in 2007 and it included transforming the loading dock into a bistro, replacing the adjacent storage sheds with a garden and pool, and reworking the basement to add parking. Also that year, was recognized as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument and in 2009, the building won the LA Conservancy's Preservation Award.[2]


Location

The Biscuit Company Lofts building is located at the corner of Mateo and Industrial in the Los Angeles Arts District. The Arts District is a vibrant growing district next to Little Tokyo on the eastern side of downtown Los Angeles.


Church and State bistro
The area was originally an industrial railroad area. Train tracks still zig and zag through the area as a reminder of the area's industrial past. By the 1970's, however, many of the buildings were standing empty, which attracted artists who wanted good live/work areas. In 1981, the City of Los Angeles passed its "Artist in Residence" or "AIR" ordinance, which allowed residential use of formerly industrial buildings (which many artists had been using already, despite the zoning). By the turn of the 21st century, the area had begun to attract more affluent residents as well. Today, converted loft-style apartments exist along side working industrial buildings as well as many restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and one-of-a-kind shops. The popular Church and State Bistro is located on the ground floor of the building.


The area allows for easy access to 10, 110, 5, 60 and 101 freeways and is serviced by several bus routes.

Construction

Biscuit Company building under construction in 1925

Built in 1925, the Biscuit Company Lofts is a steel-framed seven-story building. It was built by architect E.J. Eckel in the Classical Revival, Beaux Arts style. The rectangular building is divided into three horizontal sections by cream-colored terra cotta string courses. The first story of the building has a granite base with a brick facade. The shaft facade is made of brown mottled brick and is distinguished by sets of three windows separated by piers. The upper section of the building includes a parapet with a corner tower. The metal fixed and double hung windows have terra cotta sills and lintels.


The corner tower is the focal point of the building and is located on the intersection of Industrial and Mateo streets. The other end of both street-facing facades have a double bay that pops up over the parapet. Doors are located on both street-facing facades as well and are framed with terra cotta and granite.[3]

Layout and Features

Linear City and architect Alex Istanbulu transformed the Biscuit Company building into one-of-a-kind lofts that retained the essence of the original building. Therefore, each loft features details such as exposed brick walls, industrial steel windows and over sized doors. This is complemented by the modern conveniences such as Caesarstone counter tops and large soaking tubs.


The building's common areas are also unique. The building needed to be strengthened in order to meet Los Angeles’ earthquake codes, so the developers exposed the structure and used rough concrete walls on one side of the hallways, and curved or canted drywall on the other. The lobbies and hallways also contain details such as sandblasted brick, copper doors, and vintage lamps.[4]


Unit features include:

  • Sandblasted brick walls
  • Original one inch thick refinished hardwood floors
  • Industrial scale windows
  • Over sized doors
  • Thirteen to thirty feet ceilings
  • Stainless steel cabinetry and appliances
  • Gas ranges
  • Caesarstone counter tops
  • Over-sized soaking tubs
  • Wireless and scalable internet and telecom
  • HD-enabled satellite TV
  • Individual heat and air-conditioning controls
  • Terrazzo concrete flooring, RAIS fireplaces, and private patios in select units

Floor Plans

Biscuit Company Lofts have fifty different floor plans available. Each loft was designed to follow the natural grain of the building and respect its historic parameters.


Aleks Istanbullu Architects created fifty different floor plans with distinct shapes and color schemes. Single story units range from 605 to 2,115 square feet. Seventeen exclusive units with two to four stories and nearly 6,000 square feet of living space include an individual rooftop garden patio.

[5] - See the Reference Section below for more floor plans directly from the Biscuit Company Lofts website.

Amenities

Building amenities include:

  • Lobby enhanced by ornamental concrete and sandblasted brick
  • Corridors decorated with copper doorways and vintage lamps
  • Landscaped gardens
  • Garden lap pool
  • Fitness center
  • Ground level restaurant & bar
  • 24 Hour secured lobby entrance
  • On-site secured parking

Bylaws

Biscuit Company Lofts Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues Yes


  • This building allows pets
  • The building allows rentals
  • No restrictions on age are placed on residents
  • Several units have patios and there is communal space which may be available for barbecues

Sustainability

The Biscuit Company Lofts building was built in 1925 and was therefore not designed as a green building. However, the 2007 conversion created a twelve-thousand square foot garden and an in-ground, seventy-five foot saline swimming pool.


There are also private patios or terraces in some of the apartments. The conversion also saw some energy efficient appliances installed in the units.


Residents seeking to shrink their carbon footprint can do so by taking public transportation, which is easily accessible. There is also a nearby market and several nearby restaurants, giving residents the option of walking instead of driving.

Trivia

Community gardens
  • Because it is a historic landmark, the Biscuit Company Lofts building qualifies for Mills Act property tax exemptions.
  • Famous residents of the building have included actor Nicolas Cage, actor Kevin Spacey, actor/director, baseball star Ichiro Suzuki, and soccer star David Beckham and wife former singer Victoria "Posh" Beckham.
  • In 2009, residents from Biscuit Company Lofts and adjacent Toy Factory Lofts set up a community garden behind the Biscuit Company Lofts.[6]
  • The super-penthouse, which was converted from the old water tower, set the record for the highest price ever paid for a downtown loft.[7]

References

  1. Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission
  2. Linear City: Biscuit Company
  3. Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission
  4. Architectural Record: Biscuit Company Lofts
  5. Floor Plans from Biscuit Company website
  6. LA curbed: Less crime, more garlic
  7. Linear City: Biscuit Lofts

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