Little Tokyo Lofts

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420 South San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA

Little Tokyo Lofts
LittleTokyolofts-LA.jpg

Art Deco style Little Tokyo Lofts building
Building Information
Management Company Action Property Management
Number of Units 161
Number of Floors 6
Year Built 1922
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof IRMA
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420 South San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA
Distance to Public Transit Around 50 bus and rail options nearby
Region Los Angeles
Municipality Los Angeles
Zoning M2-2D
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

In 1922, a six-story building was built at 420 South San Pedro Street by general contractor, the Weber Showcase and Fixture Company. It is assumed that it was built for the Westinghouse Electric Company, after all, the words "Electric Bldg" are carved into the front facade above the lobby and the "W" Westinghouse logo is found in the floor tile of the lobby elevator and on the central tower. However, it isn't definite because the oldest building permit with Westinghouse mentioned as owner is dated 1923; documentation from 1922 doesn't mention an owner. The architect, according to city planning records, is unknown.


The property became known as the Westinghouse Electric Building as it housed the Westinghouse branch operations. The Westinghouse Electric Company was a rival to the General Electric Company in the first half of the twentieth century. The building remained the Los Angeles headquarters of Westinghouse until 1948.


The current owners, Hammer Ventures, report that at some time after WWII, the building was used as the Veterans Affairs Building and that the building was also involved in leather goods manufacturing. A parking garage was built next to the building in 1962.


Some time between 1993 and 2006, Hammer Ventures converted the building into loft-style apartments. During this time, the building was renamed Little Tokyo Lofts.

In 2008, the Little Tokyo Lofts building was listed as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.[1]


Location

The Little Tokyo Lofts building is located on the east side of San Pedro Street between Fourth and Fifth streets in the Little Tokyo area of downtown Los Angeles. Little Tokyo is a historic, cultural, and civic center for Japanese Americans living in Southern California. It is one of three Japan-towns in the USA and its roots date back to the 1880s. The area is changing as old industrial building, like Westinghouse, are converted into apartments and as new businesses move in, but the area still retains it's distinct Japanese heritage.


There is a plethora of amenities and landmarks within Little Tokyo and, therefore, within walking distance of Little Tokyo Lofts. Little Tokyo historic site is only two blocks away. Cafes, restaurants, and groceries are plentiful. It is also minutes from Chinatown, Japanese Village Plaza, and Grand Central Market.


Little Tokyo is close to the freeways and served by the Metro Gold Line—the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station. The Metro Red and Purple Subway lines at either Civic Center Station or Union Station, which have connections to Amtrak, Metrolink, Metro Silver Line BRT, and Foothill Transit’s Silver Streak BRT services, are also within walking distance.[2]


Construction

Center tower of Little Tokyo Lofts

The Little Tokyo Lofts building was built in 1922. The architect is unknown but the contractor was the Weber Showcase and Fixture Company. The six-story building was built in the Art Deco style. The building was used as a factory as well as for offices.


The building is almost perfectly square with an interior courtyard. It is built of steel and poured concrete and has a plain facade with a smooth surface. In the center of the building, there is a prominent tower which is balanced by smaller towers on each side of the front facade. Steel casement windows are located between wall pillars along the facade. The design is characterized by the symmetrical horizontal and vertical concrete facade surrounding the steel-framed windows. In 1962, a parking garage was built next to the building.[3]

Layout and Features

Little Tokyo Lofts feature many details that show the character of the original industrial building including twelve-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, and light-filled steel casement windows. However, the units also contain modern details such as stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and maple cabinetry.[4]


Unit features include:

  • Elegantmap Hardiwood floors
  • 12' ceilings in one-story lofts
  • 30' ceilings in two-story lofts
  • Authentic steel-casement windows
  • Central heat and air-conditioning
  • Stainless steel kitchen appliances
  • Granite counter tops and maple cabinetry
  • New sinks, faucets, and electrical fixtures
  • Wood burning fireplaces (select units)
  • Balconies and patios (select units)


Floor Plans

The Little Tokyo Lofts building has 161 loft style condominiums that range in size from about 600 square feet to around 1,400 square feet.

Amenities

Building amenities include:

  • Heater pool and spa
  • Open garden courtyard
  • Dog run
  • Secured covered parking
  • Guest parking
  • State-of-the-art fitness center
  • 24-hour security with continuous video surveillance

Bylaws

Little Tokyo 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
  • Communal area is available for barbecues

Sustainability

Little Tokyo Lofts is a historic 1922 building and was therefore not designed as a green building.

The 2006 conversion to lofts, however, did include green space--such as the courtyard. Residents seeking to shrink their carbon footprint can do so by taking public transportation, which is easily accessible.

The building's proximity to all restaurants, bars, markets, and cafes also allows residents to chose walking when seeking out these amenities.[5]

Trivia

The original carved letters over the lobby door were one of the reasons the building was designated a historic landmark.
  • Because it is a historic landmark, Little Tokyo Lofts qualifies for Mills Act property tax exemptions.
  • Guitarist/singer Jane Wiedlin is among the famous residents of Little Tokyo Lofts.
  • The Little Tokyo lofts had a starring role in the 2008 season finale of MTV's The Hills.

[6]


References

  1. Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission: Westinghouse Electric Building
  2. Little Tokyo
  3. Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission: Westinghouse Electric Building
  4. Hammer Ventures: Little Tokyo
  5. Walk Score: 420 S San Pedro Street
  6. LA Curbed: Little Tokyo Lofts

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