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L.A. Times Building May Get Scooped Up By Canadian Developers
Maybe it's not as instantly-recognizable as the Capitol Records building, or even City Hall, but the L.A. Times building on First and Spring is an indelible part of downtown. The stone structure with art deco detailing is a stately presence and the embodiment of a bygone L.A.
As reported by the Times, changes may be afoot for the building. Onni Group, a development firm based in Vancouver, has signed off on a preliminary agreement to buy the building. The early word is that the company intends to add retail stores and modern office spaces. The big question, then, is if the Times will remain in the building. So far no one is sure.
Onni Group has been very busy in the L.A. area. The firm currently owns at least eight properties downtown, reports the Times. According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, its properties include a 311,000-square-foot office building at 600 Wilshire Blvd, and an "extended-stay" hotel named LEVEL, which has a "spin room" and a full-length basketball court on one of the rooftops. In 2015, Omni Group purchased a Manhattan Beach office—formerly occupied by aerospace big shot Northrop Grumman—for approximately $96 million.
The Times articles notes that, prior to Onni, agreements to sell the building to developers had fallen apart. So it's still premature to believe that the Omni deal is a sure thing.
The Times building is, of course, a storied one. When it opened in 1935 it was, at the time, the largest edifice in the western U.S. to be completely occupied by a newspaper operation, according to the Times. The Gordon Kaufmann-designed building was awarded a gold medal at the 1937 Paris Exposition for its architecture. Kaufmann was also responsible for the Santa Anita Park in Arcadia. The elegant Globe Lobby, a staple of guided tours of the building, contains murals done by Hugo Ballin, who also did the Griffith Observatory rotunda that overlooks the pendulum pit demonstration. The building is also a popular filming location. Parts of 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier were filmed at the building. Kenneth Turan, film critic at the Times, described the movie as "formulaic, uninspiring."
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