The two-story brick Arroyo Seco Bank Building in Highland Park was constructed in 1926, with customers entering off the corner of Figueroa Street and York Boulevard between impressive columns and a doorway framed in bronze and glass. However, with the exception of a Union Bank branch, most of the two-story Beaux Arts-style building, a city historic monument, has sat empty for about five years as plans to carve condominiums out of the 20,000-square-foot structure stalled. After the lender took control of the project from the developer, construction on 13 live-work loft spaces resumed last fall, said Peter Mehrian with Cowboy & Co., which has made a business out of turning around financially troubled properties. Despite a dispute with the original developer, Mehrian expects the units to become available for rent later this month as crews finish the renovation and other repairs.
“It was getting tagged. It was getting vandalized,” Mehrian said of the bank building. “We stabilized it” and have completed a $3.5 million renovation.
Instead of condos, the 13 units in the building – located on the second floor and on street level – will be apartments renting from $1,000 to $2,000 a month. The units on the ground floor could also be used as stores or other commercial space, Mehrian said. So far, his firm has received deposits on the nine of the apartments.
Construction crews have been busy since last fall repairing and renovating windows and roofs, building kitchens and bathrooms and installing lights to illuminate the building at night. Union Bank is expected to remain in the corner space, where bronze doors and windows will be restored, Merhrian said.