Work continues on the nearly century-old El Mirador apartment building in West Hollywood.
Jerome Nash, who owns the seven-story, 32-unit complex at the corner of North Sweetzer and Fountain avenues, said there is a crew of more than 40 people working on the restoration project each day.
Most of the work on the building’s windows and much of the exterior work is complete, Nash said, and the crews are setting up lighting to show off the exterior of the El Mirador, which opened in 1929 and was declared a local cultural resource by West Hollywood in 1992.
“The El Mirador is an architectural treasure whose current rehabilitation and restoration bode well for historic preservation in West Hollywood,” said Victor Omelczenko, board president of the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance, in an email. “For over 90 years, the El Mirador has caught the eyes of both tourists and residents alike as they travel along Fountain Avenue. The building’s ornate ‘Churrigueresque’ Spanish Colonial Revival style is quite rare nowadays … The El Mirador could garner even additional recognition at the state and national levels, which if achieved, could also result in some fine tax benefits.”
When finished, the building’s units will be fully renovated, and many of the historic and architectural touches will be preserved. The units will also have ventilation, insulated walls, and central air conditioning and heat, which the 38,000-square-foot building did not have before.
“Learning that the interior building is being given the same respect as the exterior of the building is a nice thing too,” Omelczenko added.
The building has been vacant since 2010, when Nash used the Ellis Act – which allows for evictions if a landlord is leaving the rental business – to remove the building’s residents. After a contentious dispute with the West Hollywood City Council, an agreement was reached in which Nash would rehabilitate the building in exchange for converting it into an urban inn or condominiums.
As of now, however, that conversion has not been finalized, said Antonio Castillo, an associate planner with the city.
“The property owner has not finalized any tract map to convert the building into condominiums. Until and unless the property owner obtains approval to create condominiums, the units will be rental apartments,” Castillo said in an email.
The project is still more than a year away from full completion, Nash said, though the exterior scaffolding is expected to start coming down in six months or so.
“It’ll start looking pretty by the end of the summer, by the fall,” Nash said.
Nash said he’s not worried about demand for the units once they’re finished, as that’s secondary to the restoration work.
“I want to do a really good job on the building, and I’ll let the second step take care of itself when we come to it,” Nash said.
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