Associated Estates Realty Corporation, a real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Richmond Heights, Ohio (outside of Cleveland) has acquired The Desmond Tower at 5500 Wilshire Boulevard. According to their press release, Associated Estates plans to build up to 175 apartments and structured parking. Desmond’s Tower is a 78,800 square foot office and retail building that has several tenants, including the internationally acclaimed Ace Gallery.
[Update – 5/9 10:52a : According to the Wall Street Journal, Associated Estates paid $37 Million for the site and plans to spend about $70 Million to develop. Furthermore, the WSJ reports that the development already received government approvals for construction and can skip the long approval process. Construction will start in early 2013. Stay tuned for more information as to how this development will proceed. Larchmont Buzz has a call in to Associated Estates.]
The historic art deco building was designed by Architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood in 1928. Desmond’s was the first major structure on the Miracle Mile. The building, declared Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument #332 in 1987, includes two stories of retail space that was home to Desmond’s Department Store, Silverwood’s, W. Jay Saylor and Phelps Terkel. These retailers, along with Miracle Mile developer Alvah Warren (A.W.) Ross, are credited with starting the decentralization of business in Los Angeles. The 10-story Art Deco office tower was a visual landmark, and was the first major development and first high-rise building in the Miracle Mile district.
Architect Underwood also designed the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles and the Ahawahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.
Below you will find the press release on the acquisition, plus a video by Architects of Time that shows the building features over time.
Press Release – Associated Estates Acquires Historic Wilshire Boulevard Property