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A Ficus Grows Out of the Fifth Story of a Broadway Building

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The office conversion at the former Zobel Building on Broadway is uncovering all kinds of interesting things--first it was the original (restored) 1911 facade and now it's a mysterious 12-foot-tall ficus tree growing right out of the building's southern wall, five stories up, rising "well above the roofline and a rooftop structure that houses the top of the old elevator shaft," according to the Downtown News. A construction superintendent on the renovation project (which will add a sixth story and a groundfloor bar) "has searched the building many times trying to find the tree roots. He has inspected the elevator shaft and the walls on every floor for other signs of the tree, but except for the part that grows on the wall, he has found nothing." No one ever waters the thing, but it appears to be doing just fine. The superintendent says that "The tree has been here maybe five or six years ... In the last year alone it's grown twice the size." (Now sometimes they light it up at night.)

A tree curator tells the paper that it's not totally unheard of for a ficus to just set up shop wherever; all they need is a little moisture and something to grab ahold of. But the tenacious tree is headed for its doom: the fire department says the developer will have to remove it (he says he'll offer it up to whoever wants it). The tree is also on the side of the building that will get a new version of the "Calle de la Eternidad" mural that for many years graced the building's facade.
· The Strangest Tree in Downtown [Downtown News]
· Mural-Obscured 1911 Facade Finally Revealed on Broadway [Curbed LA]