Monday, October 07 2013
Bringing Back the Taft
The construction of eight concrete shear walls throughout the building may not be visible at first glance, but the major seismic upgrade by DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners in partnership with Clarett West Development involved a remarkable effort considering the complexity of renovating a tenant occupied (and historic) building. The collaborative efforts of Morley Builders and Nabih Youssef & Associates have been vital to the success of this project, the first in a series of upgrades to a building that has just celebrated it’s 90th birthday.
Originally designed by architects Percy A. Eisen and Albert R. Walker and built in 1923, the Taft Building was the first high-rise office building in Los Angeles. Catering to the office needs of the film industry, all major studios had suites in this building as well as Will Rogers, Charlie Chaplin, and even Clark Gable’s dentist.
In 2011, DLJ purchased the Taft and, in partnership with Clarett West Development, began the renovation. With proximity to public transportation and historic beauty, the Taft provides attractive creative office suites that respond to current market trends. The vision of the development team, including Jay Glaubach, Frank Stephan, Laura Doerges, and Michael Namba is a tremendous asset to the increasingly live/work/play neighborhood, where they are also constructing a new mixed-use development just one block away.
One of the most fascinating discoveries at the Taft was a cast stone medallion, covered by a 1950s renovation at the street level and revealed during demolition. A cast was carefully made by Classic Projects in order to recreate the detail at both sides of the building entrance, which was thought to have been demolished over the years.
The next steps in this endeavor include upgrades to the electrical and HVAC systems, and improvements to the corridors and lobby. We are excited to see the continued transformation of this historic monument.