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Section of Alexandria Hotel Sealed Off Since 1938 Will Become Luxury Apartments

Exterior of the Alexandria (Photo by Karol Franks via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Did you know there is an entire wing of the Alexandria Hotel in Downtown that has been sealed off since 1938? We didn't either, until we learned thanks to KPCC's Off Ramp that a developer is remodeling the long-untouched wing of the historic property and will turn it in to luxury apartments.

The story of the wing and how it became sealed off for 74 years goes back to a rent dispute that found the angry Alexandria proprietor, movie producer Phil Goldstone, walling off the wing, which was owned separately by the daughter of the man who'd had it built. Thanks to bad planning from the get go, walling it off ensured no access to the upper floors of the wing. In the over seven decades since, those floors "have been the realm of pigeons, taggers, and perhaps a squatter or two," but basically remain as they were in 1938.

Off Ramp spoke to Culver City-based developer Nick Hadim, who is heading up the $3 million renovation:

Hadim, a slim, handsome Iranian, says, "A year ago, walking down Fifth Street, I noticed it. Why are the windows open, why are they shattered, why are they dirty? One part of the building looks good, the other part doesn't." So he started asking questions and learned the sad story. His plan is to turn the wing into a luxury apartment building, The Chelsea, with a lounge in the deep sub-basement and suites above designed to retain the charm and the mystery of the time capsule they are.
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Right now the estimated opening for The Chelsea is December 2013.

Oh, but first, one hurdle: Hadim hasn't even been able to see the whole wing--floors 3 through 6 are completely inaccessible. The L.A. Times describes what Hadim found in one room that he could get in to:

A crumbling bowler hat lay next to a torn armchair. An antique typewriter sat ready for use on the side of a wooden desk. In the bathroom was a cast-iron claw-foot tub last filled with water during the Great Depression.

And P.S., yes, they say The Alexandria is haunted...