By Mirel, Diana
Journal of Property Management , Vol. 74, No. 5
The Bradbury Building in Los Angeles serves both as a "movie star" in its own right and a piece of the city's history. Commissioned by mining millionaire Lewis Bradbury, the building bearing his name was built in 1893 and has functioned as an office building throughout its entire history. The property was- and remains today- an architectural gem recognized both locally and nationally as a National Historic Landmark.
The exterior features an Italian Renaissancestyle with brown brick, sandstone and terra cotta details. The interior provides the building's true "wow" factor, however, with its cast iron details and inventive use of light. Upon entering the building, visitors walk beneath low ceilings and dim lighting before the space opens into a magnificent airy center court flooded with natural light.
Through its 126-year history, the property has evolved into a coveted space with contemporary capabilities.
"We are old on the outside and young on the inside," said Kasha Bali, property manager with Downtown Properties Holdings. "We brought modern technology to the building over the years."
In 1992, the building underwent a restoration overseen by its former owner, Ira Yellin. Under the direction of Brenda Levin Associates, some of the updates included a full sprinkler system, fire alarm monitoring, upgraded fire escapes, handicap restrooms, restored wood paneling details and a redesigned lighting system that includes custom-designed wall sconces.
Other modern upgrades to the building through the years have included a new cooling tower installed in 2005 and access system cards for tenants to enter the building after hours. In contrast to its contemporary features, the Bradbury's historic charms are still on display, with features such as the last remaining manually operated elevators in Los Angeles.
Yellin was dedicated to preserving the building's history, and its current owner, Downtown Properties Holdings, shares that dedication.
"We share Yellin's dedication to the Bradbury and renovating downtown," said Bali. "His wife is a big fan of historic buildings and believes they will always be attractive to certain market segments. Our ownership shares that vision."
The dedication to preserving the building's history and maintaining its original grandeur has made the Bradbury a popular location for film and television shoots. The building's management team gets frequent inquiries from location scouts interested in capturing the building's essence on screen. In fact, the building gets so many inquiries for filming that, even without actively soliciting production companies, the building still enjoys a steady revenue stream from filming opportunities.
"The Bradbury Building is the perfect setting to show the unique character of a scene," said Bali. "It is good for both science fiction and historical sets. I believe the character of the building with its atrium full of light and the iron work are major attractions for film production companies. …