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West Hollywood’s historic Patio del Moro complex could become condos

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Built in 1925, the apartments may once have housed Charlie Chaplin

Entrance to Patio del Moro
The Spanish-style complex was constructed by husband and wife design team Arthur and Nina Zwebell.
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Historic West Hollywood apartment complex Patio del Moro, where Charlie Chaplin is rumored to have holed up with future wife Paulette Goddard, could soon be converted into condominiums.

Developers Brian and Jay Friedman have secured a loan to purchase and renovate the seven-unit structure, according to investment firm George Smith Partners, which arranged the financing.

It’s not clear yet what those renovations will look like, but they likely won’t involve major changes to the building’s structure. The developers plan to apply for tax benefits under the Mills Act, which rewards owners for restoring historic properties, but requires strict adherence to design guidelines meant to preserve a building’s original aesthetic.

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, Patio del Moro is also a protected historic landmark. It was constructed in 1925 by husband and wife Arthur and Nina Zwebell, who together helped popularize courtyard-style apartments in the Los Angeles area.

Interior of apartment complex Courtesy George Smith Partners

Like other complexes designed by the Zwebells—including the Andalusia, Mi Casa, and El Cabrillo—Patio del Moro is designed in a whimsical Spanish style, with plenty of ornamental features. The complex is accessed via a dramatic keyhole-shaped entryway and organized around a central courtyard with lush vegetation, tiled stairways and fountains, and wrought iron fixtures.

The theme carries over into the units themselves, which feature tile and hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, brick and tile fireplaces, and even a few secret passageways, according to the building’s nomination form with the National Register.

According to Zachary Streit, Vice President of George Smith Partners, the building, which is located just a block from the Sunset Strip, is now occupied by renters, but tenants will have the opportunity to purchase their units once the condo conversion is complete.

Those units might not come cheap; a three-bedroom in the Zwebells’ nearby Andalusia complex recently sold for $1.6 million.