The spectacularly valuable real estate along Hollywood and Vine has been surprising people for decades, apparently. Here's what the October 14, 1928 Los Angeles Times had to say about one section:
When Carl Laemmle paid the Hoover estate $350,000 for the northwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine street in 1925, even the most optimistic realty men believed the high mark for Hollywood frontage had been reached. Recently Laemmle refused an offer of $1,000,000 for the property. In 1912, this lot was offered for sale at $15,000.
Well! Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal, financed the Laemmle Building on that corner in 1932. The architect was Richard Neutra, but the building itself is lost. Read about its history, up to its incarnation as the Basque Club, here on Allen Ellenberger's blog. The Basque, and the building, were destroyed by fire in 2008.
This postcard picture above, held by the LA Public Library, shows the building in 1949 during its life as the Melody Lane Cafe. The Laemmle Building is the low ediface right under the big Chevron billboard.
And just for giggles, here's the Hollywood and Vine corner in 1926, when only the Taft Building (erected 1923) marked it. According to the Times, a lot adjoining the Taft building on Vine was offered for sale for $4,500--in 1920. The next year, Charles H. Christie (of Christie Comedies) bought it for $10,500 and resold it in 1923 for $35,000! Two years later, it got sold again for $135,000.
Really makes me wish for that time machine.