8th & Western – Historic Art Deco garage in Koreatown to be centerpiece of new apartment-retail complex

Los Angeles Times

April 8, 2020

An Art Deco-style garage built in 1931 to serve the landmark Wiltern Theatre will become the centerpiece of a new apartment and retail complex in Koreatown.

The eye-catching tiered structure on Western Avenue is “an excellent example of early automobile-related commercial development in Los Angeles,” the developer’s historical consultant John LoCascio said, and a rare example of an Art Deco-themed garage.

It was a 24-hour car service facility and parking structure for the theater and adjoined Pellissier Building office tower and shops. That complex and the garage were designed by Morgan Walls & Clements, a prominent Los Angeles architecture firm that also designed the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, the Richfield Tower in downtown Los Angeles and other local landmarks.

Koreatown developer Jamison Properties plans to begin construction in June on a seven-story apartment building at 800 S. Western Ave. that will incorporate the historic garage into the project. The old structure will continue to provide parking and its roof will become outdoor amenity space for tenants with a swimming pool, landscaped deck and dining area.

Estimated construction costs weren’t disclosed.

The four-story garage at 808 S. Western Ave. will also have shops and restaurants serving the public and a screening room for tenants. The structures will be connected by a pedestrian bridge on the fourth floor and the apartment building will stand perpendicular to the garage, creating a T-shape.

“We’re trying to make it look like the two got married,” architect Keith McCloskey said, “a fusion of new and old.”

8th & Western
8th and Western. The historic garage was originally part of Pellissier Square, which included the Wiltern Theatre. (Dick Whittington Studio)

Putting together the hybrid is “twice as challenging” as putting up one new structure, said McCloskey of KTGY Architecture + Planning, the firm that designed the apartment complex.

The new building at Western and 8th Street will have 230 apartments ranging in size from two bedrooms to micro units of 438 square feet. Of those apartments, 23 are designated for extremely low-income tenants. The apartments are expected to open in early 2022.