Friday, March 17, 2006

New Chapter for the Park Plaza?

One of the most stunning buildings in Los Angeles, the MacArthur Park-adjacent Park Plaza, is apparently in the process of being sold. I drove by the building last night, and can confirm what LA Observed wrote yesterday:

I'm told a banner on the ornate former Elks club beside MacArthur Park—possibly the city's most-filmed interior aside from City Hall's third floor rotunda and hallway—says the historic-cultural monument is in escrow.

I'd love to see the new owner take advantage of the Park Plaza's upper floors, which right now are completely stripped. Despite ambitious plans to turn the building into a boutique hotel by 2003, nothing has been done. The first two floors are regularly rented out for large-scale weddings and other events. Two tremendous upstairs ballrooms have been painstakingly restored, while downstairs reception rooms are also beautifully kept up.

But beyond that, the Park Plaza is empty. Our friends Jeff and Jess got married there last year -- and you may remember that we snuck upstairs and on the roof to take some shots. A flashback:

Maria on the Park Plaza roof

Looking up the staircase to the Park Plaza's second floor

Up on the Park Plaza roof, Tony shoots the neighboring Asbury apartment building

On the Park Plaza staircase -- with the entrance behind us

View from the top floor of the Park Plaza

The Park Plaza Events website makes no mention of the impending sale. Here's a brief description from the site:

An architectural tour de force, the opulent Park Plaza embodies the rich and decadent boomtown times of Los Angeles before the 1929 stock market crash. Built in 1925 (it was originally an Elks Lodge), the Hotel languished into a lamentable state of disrepair during the 80s and 90s. Finishing touches on the extensive facelift were completed in October of '99.

Hold onto your hat when exploring our facility, because much of your time will be spent with head tipped back, ogling its many wonders. Occupying almost an entire city block, the building's facade is embellished by a series of arches, pilasters, cornices and majestic friezes featuring intriguing statuary of Roman women. This neoclassical motif is carried over to the inside as well. Enchanting you from the moment you step across the transom is the Park Plaza Lobby, a cathedral-like space with a Romanesque vaulted ceiling at least three stories high. Sunlight streams through the immense Palladian glass doorway and fanlight, burnishing the Tennessee-rose granite floor.

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