Investors banking on Highland Park loft project

Apartment interiors. Photo courtesy Cowboy & Co.

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.


  1. I just found this blog and I can’t tell you how incredible it is to see pictures and new of HLP!

    I grew up in Highland Park and have missed it ever since my family moved us out to San Diego in the late 80’s…I attended Annandale Elementary in the early to mid 80’s and Burbank Middle (Junior back then) in the late 80’s…

    I can tell you that I have always been drawn back to HLP, I hold memories so close to me…mainly the Highland Theater where my dad took us to watch many movies and memories of my mom fighting with the lady in the ticket booth to get them to honor a childs admission for my little brother whom has always been pretty big for his age!! I remember there was a pizza place close to or next door to the Highland Theater where when we were lucky my parents would treat us to a slice, walks over to the indoor Swap Meet across the street from there and oh sh!# Fashion 21 and the Hello Kitty store!!

    I’m going to be in the city next week and i’m definately planning on visiting the place where so many of my childhood memories live!!


  2. You could not have said it better Karla. Despite some rough area, HP is a wonderful place to live! I was actually wondering what they were building up there!

  3. Hope the live-work lofts fill up with quality people.

    And I agree, great words Karla. Any Montecito Heights memories you have leave a comment on my site, I always love to her about the old days in Northeast LA!

  4. I agree Karla!

    I live in the neighborhood and the place looks great now. It has been an eye sore for the past 10 years and is now looking good. I wish I wasn’t in a lease because it would grab one of the lofts in a heart beat.

    If any of you are in the area, you should check it out.

  5. I heard 13 of the 15 lofts were sold. Took a walk inside and FANTASTIC job by the contractor/developer!!! To see this pearl of HP renovated so beautifully is priceless.

  6. It looks like the project has stalled again. Anyone have any idea when we will see it open? Looking forward to seeing what kind of businesses open up downstairs!

Leave a Reply to grosario Cancel reply

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *