Historic Fine Arts Building in downtown L.A. sells for premium price of $43 million

The historic Fine Arts Building, a downtown Los Angeles landmark, sold this week for about $43 million in a sign that the financial district is on the upswing in popularity among tenants and investors.

The richly embellished office tower at 811 W. 7th St. was purchased by Santa Barbara investment firm Manchester Capital Management on behalf of a wealthy family, according to real estate brokerage NGKF Capital Markets.

The seller, Sorgente Group of America, paid $28.5 million for the 12-story tower in 2012. Sorgente made renovations to the property that dates to 1926 and signed tenants that include co-working company WeWork, which occupies nearly 40% of the building’s 115,902 square feet.

At a price of more than $370 per square foot for a building with no parking garage, the latest sale demonstrates the growing vitality of the neighborhood between Bunker Hill and Staples Center, said broker Laura Stumm of NGKF.

“You’re seeing a general pull in popularity toward the Restaurant Row area,” she said.

The Fine Arts Building lies on a pedestrian-heavy stretch of 7th Street with several eateries and bars. It is above a subway station and between the nearly-complete Wilshire Grand hotel-and-office skyscraper and the Bloc, an office, hotel and shopping complex undergoing a large-scale makeover.

The Fine Arts Building was designed by Los Angeles architects Albert R. Walker and Percy A. Eisen, who also created such well-known structures as the Oviatt Building downtown, the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills and the El Cortez Hotel in San Diego.

The design reflected an era when sculpture was integrated into architecture as a way of expressing the meaning and purpose of a building, according to USC archives. The builders hoped to attract tenants in arts-related fields.

In the lobby is a vast assortment of tiles by Pasadena artist Ernest A. Batchelder, a leading figure of the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century, and a mural by popular theater muralist Anthony Heinsbergen.


Twitter: @rogervincent


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An earlier version of this article stated that the Fine Arts Building sold for more than $400 per square foot. It sold for more than $370 per square foot.
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