Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Four Saturday Walking Tous of Historic Downtown Los Angeles This May at The Last Bookstore - 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM

The Last Bookstore (with its  2nd floor filled with 50,000 books at ONE DOLLAR each!)  Presents  a 10:30 START TIME FOR 2 hour walking tours  of the The Secret Lives of Historic Downtown Los Angeles -  FEATURED In GQ MAGAZINE and Endorsed By - LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE!

There will be a HISTORIC DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES 101  2 hour walking tour this Saturday  May 10th, May 17th, May 24th and May 31st with a start time of 10:30 AM and an ending time of 12:30 PM. 

And on every Sunday, with reservations totaling at least 4 or more people  made by 5 PM Saturday - Sunday Tours can  also be given starting at 11 PM - or later depending -  on the first person's reservations.  And all tours start at THE LAST BOOKSTORE in the Spring Arts Tower at 5th and Spring and they are still only $15 per person.

And  besides our regular scheduled tours, we will be offering customized tours on different days and different times and from one to three hours including weekdays - depending on your schedule.  With a minimum of four reservations, we will design a tour of any part of Downtown focusing on any subject matter you choose.  These tours can be after work, during lunch breaks - or??

FOR MORE INFORMATION  - contact Brady Westwater at 213-804-8396 - or
All tours begin at THE LAST BOOKSTORE at 453 S. Spring Street in the Spring Arts Tower and will be led by long time Downtown resident Brady Westwater who, besides being involved with the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council, the Historic Downtown BID, Gallery Row, Art Walk, and the BOXeight and the CONCEPT Fashion Weeks, has brought over 150 businesses, artists and non-profit institutions to Downtown.  All tours are only $15 per person.  
Wyatt Earp

If you are a participant in 'Historic Downtown Los Angeles 101' Tour, you will see the first motion picture theater built,  the place where Babe Ruth signed his contract with the Yankees, the hotel where Charlie Chaplin lived when he made his early films (and the place where he made his Los Angeles vaudeville debut in 1910) - plus the homes and haunts of everyone from actor Nicholas Cage, the Black Dahlia, Rudolph Valentino, LA’s version of Jack the Ripper, President Teddy Roosevelt, the Night Stalker, western outlaw Emmet Dalton,  actor Ryan Gosling and more.  And you will also visit where O. J. Simpson bought his knife.

You’ll explore an intersection where all four buildings were often visited by gunfighter/sheriff Wyatt Earp since they were all built or occupied by friends of his from Tombstone during the shoot-out at the OK Corral.  At this intersection you will also discover what John Wayne, a prime minister of Italy, Houdini, Winston Churchill, boxer Jack Dempsey, Greta Garbo, President Woodrow Wilson and multiple Mexican boxing champions all had in common here.

You will also see where the first new lofts were opened, the places where Gallery Row and the Art Walk began and where Fashion Week returned to Downtown.  You will see many of the new boutiques, designer showrooms and stores that have recently opened in the area along with getting a sneak preview of what will soon be happening in the area.

Tickets for either tour are only $15 per person - free for children under 8 - and reservations can be made by calling Brady Westwater at 213-804-8396 or emailing  All credit card orders will be processed  at Last Bookstore and cash payments may be made at the start of the tour.   All proceeds will go towards the revitalization and the study of the history of the neighborhood.  
Lastly, future tours will feature specialized areas of interest such as architecture, art of all kinds, shopping and food, single streets, sports (from steer wrestling to luchador wrestlers to a Sumo wrestler), transportation, specific periods of history, the hidden Wild West history of Los Angeles, movie locations, Downtown after hours and many other aspects of the neighborhood. And custom designed can be developed by request  for groups of four or more.
We will also be soon starting weekday and evening tours on what it's like to live in Downtown Los Angeles. You will be introduced to the many of stores, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues (and often their owners, too) - along with being given previews of one of a kind special events - so you can get a feel for what it is like to live in Downtown Los Angeles.

We expect this tour to be popular with not only people considering moving to Downtown and people who work in Downtown and who would like to know what to do after hours in Downtown - but also to recent and even long established Downtown residents who want to know more about their neighborhood.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

May Company Building on Downtown LA's Broadway Sells to New York Developer

 Photo courtesy of  Gary Friedman of the LA Times
Roger Vincent of the Los Angeles Times has the story on the sale of the largest building left to convert in Downtown Los Angeles.

Former May Co. building in downtown L.A. to get revived after sale

A huge former department store on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles is being sold to a New York real estate investment firm that intends to pump new life into the old building and its rebounding neighborhood.
The century-old flagship of the May Co. contains 1.1 million square feet of space surrounded by Broadway, Hill Street and 8th Street. The commercial district was once one of the best in the Southern California, but fell on hard times in the late decades of the 20th century.
Waterbridge Capital has agreed to buy the property now known as Broadway Trade Center, city officials and property brokers said. The price was not disclosed, but experts familiar with the downtown real estate market expect the property to garner $115 million to $130 million.
L.A. City Council member Jose Huizar said in a statement that Waterbridge plans a mixed-use development that may include offices, a hotel, stores and apartments or condominiums. There was no announcement about potential tenants.
The property is one of the largest available on the West Coast for conversion to new uses and many investors were interested in getting in on the comeback of downtown's historic district, real estate broker Phillip Sample of CBRE Group Inc. said.
"The rarity of a redevelopment opportunity in this size range, especially in a downtown core like Los Angeles that is clearly on an upward trajectory, created a tremendous level of interest from both private and institutional capital from all over the world," said Sample, who represented the seller.
Waterbridge's plan to combine several uses in one big historic building "will be a game changer for downtown L.A.," Sample said.
No building quite like that exists downtown. Historically, however, the old structure has been many things simultaneously.
It opened in 1908 as the Hamburger department store, and in addition to selling clothing and home furnishings it had an 80-foot-long soda fountain, a restaurant, a grocery store, a post office and a roof garden. The third floor housed the L.A. Public Library for a few years.
There was a house physician's office with a fully equipped operating room ready for emergencies "and a corner where a fainting woman can rest and be restored to strength," The Times reported at the time. There was also a theater where an audience of 1,000 could watch a moving-picture show or a vaudeville act.
The historic Orpheum Theater across Broadway from the old May Co. building has been restored, and another former department store next door called Eastern Columbia has been converted to luxury condominiums.
A $100-million, 32-story apartment building is under construction across Hill Street, and the former United Artists theater and office complex about a block away on Broadway is now the 180-room Ace Hotel.
The activity piqued the interest of Waterbridge, said real estate broker Chris Caras of CBRE Group, who worked with Sample on the deal.
"The location within the downtown core," he said, "was a major draw for the buyer."
The full story is on the L:A Times website.