Developer plots office conversion at Desmond’s building in Broadway

The 1920s building used to house the iconic fashion retailer

616 South Broadway, Los Angeles (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
616 South Broadway, Los Angeles (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Add another adaptive reuse project to the historic Broadway Theater District.

Developer Afton Properties is looking to convert the former Desmond’s clothing store to a new office building, replete with a restaurant and rooftop bar, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Beaux Arts-style building, located at 616 South Broadway, housed the upscale Desmond’s department store from 1924 until the company went out of business in 1981. Inside, a men’s lounge with fireplace, barbershop, putting green and “circus” section for kids could be found among the fashionable hats, furs and coats.

Afton will now renovate the six-story building, which spans 85,000 square feet. The firm is also planning on adding a 7th floor for a restaurant, and 8th floor for a rooftop bar.

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The firm acquired the property for nearly $22 million in November, property records show. It plans on spending another $12 million on upgrades.

Omgivning is designing the remodel. The Desmond’s building was designed by the late architect Albert Martin, who also famously designed the Million Dollar Theatre nearby.

Cushman & Wakefield is handling leasing for the site.

In the last few years, developers have been flocking to Broadway for their adaptive reuse projects thanks in part to an effort from embattled City Councilman Jose Huizar. Some of the more notable conversions include the Tower Theatre, recently leased by Apple, and former Herald Examiner building, soon to become a satellite campus for Arizona State University. [LAT] – Natalie Hoberman