New Pershing Apartments
|Skid Row Housing Trust
The New Pershing Apartments is a reconstruction of a three-story Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Hotel at the southeast corner of 5th and Main. It is the last Victorian era building left in Downtown Los Angeles. The building was originally known as the Charnock Block when it was constructed in 1889 as medical offices and was later occupied by various drug stores. It is distinguished by the building’s original façade, which includes extravagant Second Empire bay windows that project from the upper story. The new construction also included combining the Pershing with the adjacent building to the south known as the Roma Hotel.
In 1988, the Pershing Hotel was converted to an SRO Hotel by the Skid Row Housing Trust in one of the City’s first attempts to preserve its affordable housing. The original layout was inefficient with windy corridors. The 69 rooms were small, poorly lit, with community bathrooms down the hall and a central communal kitchen. The new construction includes 69 studio apartments each with its own bathroom and kitchenette. The apartments are set around a landscaped central courtyard with gardens and bamboo trees. Communal garden plots cover the lower rooftop and have proven to be very popular among the formerly homeless tenants that make up most of the Skid Row Housing Trust’s clientele.
The building’s area has been increased from 37,000 to 60,000 square feet to provide sufficient space for larger apartments, management and resident services offices, a large community room, and below grade parking. The double height spaces along Main Street have been reconditioned for restaurant and retail use and maintain an attractive pedestrian presence.
In addition to be restoring and preserving the façade, there was one original staircase deemed historic that the KFA team restored and included in the new construction. There were also several fixtures and original design pieces around the façade’s iconic bay windows that were restored.
The building is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.