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Two-bedroom penthouse in Long Beach’s historic Villa Riviera goes up for auction

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Bids for the unit start at $750K

With 35-foot ceilings, stenciled beams, and a massive wood-burning fireplace, the penthouse’s great room is a real show-stopper.
Photos courtesy of Adriano Lamboglia/Harcourts Auctions

One of the two penthouse condos in Long Beach’s historic Villa Riviera is scheduled to be sold at auction today. Located at Ocean Boulevard and Shoreline Drive, the commanding Gothic Tudor-style complex has been a local landmark since its completion in 1929.

Designed by architect Richard D. King, whose other projects included Hollywood’s Art Deco-style Red Wine Building and the Moorish-style Sparkletts bottling plant in Eagle Rock, the 16-story structure was for decades the second-tallest building in Southern California after LA’s City Hall, and famously made it through the city’s devastating 1933 earthquake with only minor cracks to its plaster.

Until the mid-1950s, the 16-story Gothic Tudor was the second-tallest building in Southern California, surpassed only by Los Angeles City Hall.

Sadly, the Villa Riviera’s ability to withstand earthquakes wasn’t much use in defending it against ruthless remuddlers, and the vast majority of its incredible original interiors now exists only in photos and memories.

According to its listing description, the condo going on the block is the “only unit still containing historical charm from yesteryear.” And even it didn’t escape unscathed from the remuddling plague—we just didn’t have the heart to include photos of its redone kitchen and dining room in this write-up.

A pair of stone gargoyles stand sentry outside the penthouses’s lavishly tiled master bath.
More sublime period tile.

That being said, what original features that still remain in Penthouse No. 1508 are truly extraordinary. They include a vast great room with 35-foot ceilings, stenciled beams, a wood-burning fireplace, and built-in window seats.

Then there are the two bathrooms lined with glorious Art Deco tile, one of which has a window guarded by a pair of the building’s iconic stone gargoyles. Other vintage features include built-in shelves, arched doors, and sconces.

One of the unit’s two bedrooms.
The landmark building overlooks Alamitos Beach.

The auction for the Mills Act-eligible condo begins at noon today, with opening bids starting at $750,000. The listing is held by Adriano Lamboglia of Harcourts Auctions/Hunter Mason Realty.