Johnson Fain Is Infomart-L.A. Designer


Los Angeles architectural firm Johnson Fain Partners has been hired as the chief designer for the transformation of the historic Terminal Annex in downtown Los Angeles into a high-technology complex.

Johnson Fain will oversee design as the former postal facility on the eastern edge of downtown Los Angeles undergoes extensive renovations to attract high-tech and telecommunications tenants. The 500,000-square-foot building, which will be renamed Infomart-Los Angeles, was purchased this year by a subsidiary of Dallas-based Nexcomm Capital Partners.

“It’s a great historic structure,” architect Scott Johnson said of the building near Union Station, Olvera Street and Chinatown. “It’s really at the historic core of downtown Los Angeles, and [its renovation] adds a strong additional piece to what’s going on in the area.”


Improvements will include wiring the building with high-speed fiber-optic cables and communications equipment. A parking structure for 500 cars is under construction, and modern additions to the 62-year-old building are being removed. A garden will be built between the old building and the new parking structure.

Johnson Fain also will oversee the restoration of the Spanish colonial revivalist facade and a beaux-arts lobby that features murals by Russian artist Boris Dutche. Johnson said the building is well-suited to high-tech uses. Its interior is a vast 18-foot-high space that can be easily reconfigured to serve tenants of different sizes.

“It’s a solid concrete structure,” Johnson said. “This old building is perfect in many ways” for high-tech uses.

The renovation is scheduled to be completed by April. Nexcomm officials have not signed any tenants yet.

Nexcomm owns several other high-technology centers nationwide, including the 1.65-million-square-foot Infomart-Dallas.

Nexcomm’s plan includes space for electronic switching equipment, software developers, Web designers and e-commerce companies.

Terminal Annex occupies about one-third of an 18-acre site at Alameda Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue. The Postal Service plans to eventually sell the remainder of the property for future development. The building, designed by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, was the city’s main postal facility until 1989. A retail postal station will be included when the building reopens.

Among Johnson Fain-designed buildings are Fox Plaza and SunAmerica Center in Century City and 6100 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.