AHF: Skid Row’s King Edward Hotel Earns City’s Historic Designation
In 2018, the 1906-era Beaux Arts hotel on Skid Row was repurposed by AHF and the Healthy Housing Foundation for use as housing for the homeless and extremely-low-income individuals
Los Angeles City Council grants Historic-Cultural Monument status to the hotel and its King Eddy Saloon, a bar and former speakeasy in continuous operation since the 1930s
The Los Angeles City Council has designated the King Edward Hotel, a 1906-era Beaux Arts hotel, and its King Eddy Saloon, a bar and former speakeasy in continuous operation since the 1930s, status as the newest Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.
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The 1906-era King Edward Hotel on L.A.’s Skid Row was repurposed by AHF and its Healthy Housing Foundation for use as housing for the homeless and extremely-low-income individuals. (Graphic: Business Wire)
The 150-room hotel, located on the edge of L.A.’s Skid Row, was purchased, refurbished and repurposed by AHF and the Healthy Housing Foundation in 2018 for use as housing for the homeless and extremely-low-income individuals.
“While I am extremely pleased that our City Council designated the King Edward Hotel an official Historic-Cultural Monument—a well-deserved recognition for this beautiful 1906 Beaux Arts hotel located in the heart of Skid Row—I believe what really makes this property historic is its new life repurposed as housing for formerly homeless and extremely-low-income individuals,” said Hon. Kevin de Léon, Los Angeles City Council Member for District 14. “I’ve always said our approach to reducing homelessness must be all hands on deck, so AHF and the Healthy Housing Foundation are to be commended for their innovative and cost-effective approach to address our growing homeless situation via the adaptive reuse of many old hotels and motels like the King Edward, an approach I believe the city and other organizations should get behind.”
The historic designation came via City Council’s adoption of a motion passed on consent calendar at Wednesday’s council meeting (Agenda Item #29—Council File item #20-0736).
According to documents submitted in support of the designation, the Cultural Heritage Commission, in a June 11, 2020 letter and memo to the city’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM), recommended that PLUM urge the City Council consider the King Edward Hotel for inclusion in the list of Historic-Cultural Monuments. The Heritage Commission had previously voted unanimously (on May 5, 2020) to recommend Historic-Cultural Monument status. The Cultural Heritage Commission noted:
“The King Edward Hotel meets two of the Historic-Cultural Monument criteria: it “exemplifies significant contributions to the broad cultural, economic or social history of the nation, state, city or community” for its association with the early 20th century development of hotels in Downtown Los Angeles, and as the home of the King Eddy Saloon, a business important to the commercial identity of Downtown Los Angeles that has continuously operated at the property since the 1930s; and it “embodies the distinctive characteristics of a style, type, period, or method of construction” and “represents a notable work of a master designer, builder, or architect whose individual genius influenced his or her age” as an excellent example of a commercial building in the Beaux Arts architectural style, and a significant work of master architect John Parkinson.”
“I’m thrilled that the city has recognized John Parkinson’s King Edward Hotel as a protected cultural landmark. The hotel is not only architecturally distinguished, but also plays a significant role in L.A.’s literary history as a location in John Fante’s ‘Ask The Dust,’ and also contains rare decorative remnants from the Prohibition-era speakeasy that Fante wrote about,” said cultural historian Kim Cooper, of Esotouric Tours. “When an historic building can be recognized as a monument, while also providing much needed affordable housing to the Skid Row community, it’s something worth celebrating.”
Parkinson also designed Los Angeles City Hall.
“A sincere thank you to City Council and all city officials and departments involved in this recognition. It is an honor AHF shares with the people we serve, including the 150 residents of the King Edward,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF. “The King Edward was the third hotel in Greater Los Angeles that we purchased for our Healthy Housing Foundation at a relatively modest cost of about $70,000 per room. We did so as part of our effort to help house the homeless in a cost-effective and livable way. Many of these old majestic buildings deserve new life, and what better way than housing the homeless? Adaptive reuse of such older hotels and buildings is an avenue we encourage others, including the City of Los Angeles, to pursue.”
Architectural historian Kate Eggert wrote the historic designation application for the King Edward on behalf of AHF and the Healthy Housing Foundation.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.5 million individuals in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us @aidshealthcare.
Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications, AHF
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