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One of the Ugliest Buildings in LA Will Finally Get a Makeover

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Bye, black and white stripes

It’s been voted one of the ugliest buildings in Los Angeles by Curbed LA, Timeout Los Angeles, and LAist, and, according to the Los Angeles Times, it's been called "the bleeding zebra."

But 8500 Melrose is about to emerge from its three-decades-long awkward phase to morph—just maybe—into a beautiful swan. The outdated mini-mall at Melrose Avenue and La Cienega, which is best known and also loathed for its facade with horizontal black and white stripes and pink trim, is on the verge of a big facelift.

Nima Bararsani, a broker with commercial real estate and investment firm CBRE tells Curbed that a year’s worth of construction will start in December to strip off the marble and smooth the zig-zagging front.

"Ninety-nine out of 100 people want that building out of there," he said. "We’ll strip it down to steel and concrete and put in some glass panels."

Bararsani said he approached the property owner several years ago about revamping the building. The changes aren’t limited to the building’s aesthetics. The tenants will be replaced, too, likely by high-end apparel companies. Bararsani said he’s also looking to add a restaurant, a showroom, and a maybe some offices. Each of the new tenants will design their own storefronts, he said.

"This spot is turning into an epicenter of design and fashion, kind of like the Miami Design (District)," he said.

The structure opened in 1985 to offer gallery and showroom spaces, with the project’s architect telling the Times, "In order for a building to make a statement along Melrose Avenue, it must be unconventional; the context demands it."

In that respect, it certainly lived up to its potential. But, as the newspaper has pointed out, it never delivered on housing a high-end anchor tenant. Right now, tenants include a pharmacy, Crystalarium, and Relax the Back.

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8500 Melrose Avenue