Saturday, March 23, 2013

Alexandria Hotel, News on Her Second Century

The 107-year-old Alexandria Hotel holds some secrets. I've written about the hotel's history--a rich tale, because this is a place where Charlie Chaplin once lived, Gloria Swanson married, presidents and world leaders stayed, and early Hollywood moguls struck deals, etc. And it has a ghost, rumored to be no less than Rudolf Valentino.

That's all in the first century, of course. What is unique about the Alexandria is that it enjoys a second century--in Los Angeles, that's an anomaly.

(picture at left and below are from Wikipedia, btw. For some neat "then and now" pictures, go to Bryanat Arnett's site.)

In its second century, The Alexandria Hotel has been a film location for the Spiderman movies (because it does look like New York, which has many old hotels) and has been subdivided into micro lofts (learn about that here) (I guess that means it's no longer a hotel, since ALL usable rooms have been converted).

But did you know there's another unused wing of The Alexandria, a seven-story wing that was shut up in 1934 and has sat abandoned ever since? And that wing has a new owner who is planning to bring it back to life.

The picture above is of the Palm Court, dating back to the glory days of the hotel. It's amazing, isn't it, that the stained glass survived? But as the hotel got run down, this became a room that no one used, so it was pretty much left alone--except for boxing matches.

Seriously. There's an incredibly detailed and well-cited article on the Palm Court, including a list of the notable events that took place there, on Wiki.

Anyway, back to the new owner of the boarded-up section:

The owners are an investment group represented by Nick Hadim. He is not an investor, though. Hadim will be renovating an unused, abandoned wing of the Alexandria. A flurry of articles just before and after last Halloween (2012) reported on this. You can read about it in:

Basically, Hadim's investors bought the wing for $2 million and plan to create luxury apartments in it. (The original Alexandria are micro-lofts, remember? Teensy. Only the very largest have a bedroom!) And he wants to add a two-floor subterranean nightclub.

My snide comment that I can't stop myself from typing: Everyone who can afford at least $1700 a month for a small apartment and wants to live on top of a noisy, trendy night club and look out the window to see people puking, raise their hand!

The new wing will be called the Chelsea Building, and Hadim is planning to spend $3 million on it. He'll have to add elevators and stairs, because none exist in this wing--which is actually an annex, added to the hotel in 1910.

Seven floors and no stairs means that Hadim's investors bought the joint more-than-half sight unseen. The first, second, and seventh floors are the only ones he could access.

The picture above at right, from our LA library's collection, shows the hotel in 1950. The wing/annex/slice in question is out of sight--it would be about 20 feet to the right or the right edge, I think.

The 35 new apartments planned will all be under 700 feet, and Hadim announced a rental price of $2.50 per square foot. All pending permits, of course. So even though the PR refers to them as luxury units, the luxury is not in space.

I really want to see how this all turns out; the renovations are supposed to be done by the end of this year.

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