Brown Derby postcard via Save the Derby; Hillhurst Square rendering via Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council; recent photo via Los Feliz Today
The group that had once hoped to put a Whole Foods and apartments on the site of Los Feliz's old Brown Derby restaurant is now putting the property up for sale for $10.6 million. A group of investors from Lee & Associates and Adler Realty Investments bought the last extant Brown Derby in 2004, hoping to put up the mixed-use Hillhurst Square, but neighbors objected, got the site declared a historic-cultural monument, and put a stop to the project.
According to Save the Derby, which popped up during that fight, the building was built in 1928. Cecil B. DeMille bought it in 1940 and turned it into the fourth Brown Derby restaurant, which closed in 1960. After that, it was home to Michael's steakhouse, where the lounge duo Marty and Elayne played before they set up shop at the Dresden. And from 1992 to 2009, the building was home to the Derby nightclub, ground zero for the swing revival of the nineties--Big Bad Voodoo Daddy got its start there and Jon Favreau and Heather Graham cut a rug there in Swingers.
Late last year, Chase bank signed a ten-year lease for space in the building and Louise's Trattoria also signed up for another ten years. Lee's Duncan Lemmon, who was one of the investors in the property and is also the current broker, tells us the tenants have "long term leases, with options" and that the building has been completely restored. A press release says that another restaurant is in negotiations to rent out the last 2,777 square feet in the building.
· No Martinis But Maybe Toasters: Los Feliz Derby to Become Bank [Curbed LA]
· History of the Derby [Save the Derby]