Updated 10/30: Speaking of the spooky old Alexandria Hotel at Fifth and Spring, the LA Times has the story of the especially creepy seven-story annex, which has been sealed off since 1938--developer Nick Hadim now has plans to convert the section into 28 small but fancy apartments (it'll be called the Chelsea Building); the Downtown News reports that units will range from 500 to 700 square feet and rent for $2.50 per square foot (so about $1,250 to $1,750). The rest of the Alexandria operates as low-income apartments. After Hadim bought the building (it was asking $2.6 million back in 2010), he climbed in through a window and found "a dusty suite deserted in some haste in the 1930s. A crumbling bowler hat lay next to a torn armchair. An antique typewriter sat ready for use on the side of a wooden desk. In the bathroom was a cast-iron claw-foot tub last filled with water during the Great Depression." There's also still a mezzanine with "elaborate, gilded crown molding and rounded windows adorned with advertising in gold leaf."
In 1905, the property's original owner went in with the hotel's developers and built the annex as "a seamless extension of the Alexandria," accessible via the hotel's corridors. He decided it was unnecessary to give the annex stairs or an elevator. Whoops. In 1938, a new owner turned on the annex's owner and sealed the section off from the Alexandria. With no way to get between floors, it was useless (the owners managed to keep renting the groundfloor retail space).
Hadim now plans to scrub the joint down, add an elevator and stairs (genius!), and possibly turn the two-story basement into a nightclub; he also hopes to get some neighborhood-serving tenants (a cafe and maybe a boutique) into the retail spaces. He's planning to start work in January and finish up next winter.
· In downtown L.A., sealed-off hotel rooms offer peek into the past [LAT]
· Breathing Life Into the Downtown Ghost Building [DN]