Pan American Lofts

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253 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA

Pan American Lofts
PanAmericanLofts-LA-.jpg

The Pan American Lofts building is second-oldest building in downtown Los Angeles.
Building Information
Architect Sumner Hunt
Management Company MERIT Property Management
Number of Units 40
Number of Floors 5
Year Built 1895
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof IRMA
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253 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA
Distance to Public Transit around 50 bus and rail options nearby
Region Los Angeles
Municipality Los Angeles
Zoning [Q]C2-4D-CDO
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

The Pan American building is the second oldest building in downtown Los Angeles, right behind the Bradbury Building which sits across the street. It was constructed in 1895 by architect Sumner Hunt. It was originally called the Irvine Block. It was built as an office building and, when it was built, was only the second office building in the area.


In 1905, James W. Byrne bought the building and the name changed to the Byrne-Irvine Building. In 1911, Byrne hired San Francisco architect Willis Polk to repair the building. At some point in the next thirty years it changed hands and by World War Two, it was the home of the Mexican consulate.


In the 1980's, the ground floor was taken over by a Giant Penny discount store. This store remained on the premises until Urban Pacific Builders bought the building in 2004. Urban Pacific hired Donald Barany Architects to convert the building to condominiums, which they completed before the end of the year.


Among other things, they added a new roof, raised the garage ceiling, and added a new elevator corridor. While doing so, however, they paid careful attention to the preserve the historic nature of the building whenever possible. In fact, the project’s development team granted a Historic Facade Preservation Easement to the Los Angeles Conservancy to ensure that the buildings historic nature is preserved.


In 1991, the building was recognized as a Los Angeles Heritage building. In 2002, a few years before the building was purchased by Urban Pacific, it was entered on the National Register of Historic Places.[1]


Location

The Pan American Lofts are located at the northwest corner of Broadway and Third Street in Los Angeles' historic core. The Historic Core is a neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles between Hill and Main streets on the west and east, and 3rd and 9th street on the north and south. In the 1940's and 50's Los Angeles' downtown area slowly began to decline.


Many of the financial institutes moved and the area became known for prostitution and drugs. In 1999, the Los Angeles City Council passed an Adaptive Re-Use Ordinance, allowing for the conversion of old, unused office buildings to apartments or "lofts."


This began the dramatic turn around of the area which is now known for it's converted loft residences, restaurants, shops, and cafes. The Pan American Lofts are located across the street from the Million Dollar Theatre and the Bradbury Building.


There are grocery stores, coffee shops, and restaurants all within five-hundred feet of the building. Public transportation is within easy access of the building. There are around fifty bus and rail options with a five minute walk. Biking is also a viable option, as there are excellent bike lanes.[2]


Construction

Iconic wall pillars

The Pan American Lofts building, was built in 1895 by architect Sumner Hunt and renovated in 1911 by architect Willis Polk. The five story building is built in a combination of a Classical Revival style and a Spanish Colonial style. The base is characterized by a series of store fronts--most of which have been altered from the original nineteenth-century design. A decorated arch with a keystone is around the entrance.


Above this, raised letters identify the building as the Pan American Building. The shaft of the building, from the second to the fourth stories, has a buff brick facade with Ionic wall pillars interspersed with sets of windows. Windows are decorated with soldier brick lintels and, on the fourth story, are rounded at the top. The fifth story repeats the pattern set by the rest of the building of wall pillars between windows.


Above the fifth story is a bracketed cornice with decorative moldings. The design elements are on the east and south sides of the building. The north and east sides are unadorned.[3]


Layout and Features

The Pan American Lofts are located in a historic nineteenth century building and many historic details are included in the units. This includes original exposed brick and concrete walls and high ceilings.


These historical features are juxtaposed with many modern amenities such as high-end stainless steel appliances and modern bathroom fixtures.[4]


Unit amenities include:

  • exotic bamboo flooring (select units)
  • original exposed brick and concrete walls
  • 12-foot to 17-foot interior ceilings
  • huge floor-to-ceiling windows
  • high-end stainless steel appliances
  • juliette balconies/private decks (select units)
  • Porcher bathroom fixtures and vanity
  • Hansgrohe kitchen faucet

Floor Plans

The Pan American Lofts feature several different floor plans from 658 to 1248 square feet. This includes ten different penthouse units, such as the one pictures below.


Amenities

Building amenities include:

  • underground parking
  • outdoor gathering areas
  • communal courtyard
  • controlled access
  • elevators
  • excellent views


Bylaws

Pan American Lofts Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues Yes


  • Pets are allowed in this building.
  • This building allows rentals.
  • There is no age restrictions in Pan American Lofts.
  • The communal courtyard is available for barbecues and several of the unit also have private balconies or terraces.


Sustainability

The Pan American Lofts are in a historic 1895 building, which was therefore not designed as a green building.

Residents seeking to shrink their carbon footprint can make use of the excellent location of Pan American Lofts.

The building is close to many different public transportation options and bike lanes are also available in the area.

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


Trivia

The staircase in the Pan American building has been in several movies
  • In 2007, Urban Pacific granted an easement on the Pan American building facade to the Los Angeles Conservancy. In return, Urban Pacific receives tax benefits that it shares with loft owners.[6]
  • Because it is a historic landmark, this building qualifies for Mills Act property tax exemptions.
  • The building is a popular film location. The halls and staircase have been used in many Alfred Hitchcock's movies, Brad Pitt's "Se7en","Fight Club","Blade Runner", and numerous other tv shows and commercials.[7]

References

  1. National Register of Historic Places
  2. Walk Score
  3. National Register of Historic Places
  4. Pan American Lofts
  5. Walk Score
  6. LA Curbed: Pan American Lofts laugh at the IRS
  7. Loft Living LA


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