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The MacArthur building at 607 S. Park View Street was first erected as an Elks Lodge, then accommodated guests as The Park Plaza Hotel before it closed to the public and acted as an event space and film set. Now, the building will return to its roots, housing guests once more after it is restored to its former splendor, according to Morgan Sykes Jaybush, Director of Hospitality Projects with Omgivning, the architectural firm hired by Macarthur East, LLC. to renovate the building in a historically accurate manner. The MacArthur will open to film crews and hotel guests alike midway through 2022.
“It’s a strict renovation,” Jaybush told What Now Los Angeles. “It’s the exact original use that was there, we’re just doing a seismic upgrade and building back what was originally there.”
On January 15, Dan Lee of MacArthur East filed for a conditional use permit to allow the sale of a line of alcoholic beverages to be consumed on “indoor and outdoor event and performance spaces with dancing and entertainment.
“Multiple uses at the same time [will take place when the MacArthur opens,]” said Jaybush. “The building was used for concerts and events, but it’s also for filming and performance spaces — [obtained permits for the space will] allow for live-action performance [and] music performances. The goal of the hotel is to really support the building’s original uses… Guests could check into it for a night — we’re setting it up so that, since more people are working from home now, somebody could come to check in for a month… If there was some production going on within the building, they could house the cast there.”
Enormous angels perch on the building’s corners, and a set of brass antlers crown the building’s entrance. The building was designed in a Gothic Revival style by renowned Art Deco architect Claud Beelman for the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, according to the MacArthur’s website. The murals and artwork throughout the building were painted by Anthony Heinsbergen and Co., and the murals on the building’s lobby ceiling is inspired by the Villa Madonna, which was painted by Raphael and Giulio Romano during the Renaissance. After their numbers dwindled, the Elks sold the building in the mid-1970s, spurring on its second life as a hotel.
The most noteworthy change to the building will be to its hotel rooms, Jaybush said, which will be largened significantly from the “tiny, micro-hotel rooms” that were built initially for Elks from other lodges to sleep overnight.
“The design intent is for it to be respectful of the original design, but obviously it’s going to be modern, using similar materials and color schemes,” said Jaybush. “[Like the old building, the decor will be inspired by] a variety of wood paneling throughout the building, original painted murals on the ceilings [and] a lot of earth tones.”
The most difficult part of the project, said Jaybush, is the process of seismically retrofitting the atypical structure.
“The building is not a traditional building that stacks straight all the way up — you can kind of see that as you go up. It sets in like a wedding cake, and the exterior wall doesn’t stack all the way,” he explained. “If you’re putting in a shear wall, the most efficient structural method is going down from the roof to the basement, [but] every floor [of the MacArthur] has different sized things going through it… we had to find different ways to get those shear walls to run down into the basement. [In other parts of the building, we] had to remove historic plaster paneling, put the shear wall up and then put paneling over it.”
Among the dozens of films and television shows captured onsite are: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “New Girl,” “Lucifer,” “The Bodyguard,” “Hocus Pocus,” “Hook,” “Drive,” “Chaplin” and “The Prestige.” A number of swimming events for the 1932 Olympics were hosted at the building’s basement pool, and underground punk rock shows were held in the space in the ’80s and ’90s after the building had fallen into disrepair and the surrounding MacArthur park became increasingly dangerous.
Representatives from MacArthur East, LLC. could not be reached for comment.