Located at the eastern edge of Downtown Los Angeles and within walking distance to many of the city’s cultural amenities, the Arts District is a thriving and creative community that inhabits the largely self-sufficient area along with independent restaurants, bars, shops and galleries.
The vibrant area began as the agricultural hub of Los Angeles in the 1800’s, filled with citrus groves and vineyards. Because of its proximity to the Los Angeles River, merchants were able to both water their crops and distribute produce. In the late 1800’s railroads linking Los Angeles to Chicago emerged and fueled an industrial boom. Warehouses and factories replaced the orchards and vineyards, and by the early 1900’s the area was a manufacturing and distribution powerhouse.
940 East 2nd Street was built in 1906 to store sugar beets by industrialists John and Adolph Spreckels, The Spreckels Brothers. The depot went through numerous renovations including one in the 1920s by one of Los Angeles’ preeminent architects, John B. Parkinson, known for designing Los Angeles City Hall, Union Station, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and Pershing Square.
The building changed ownership during the mid 1950’s, around the time the interstates were constructed and Los Angeles residential population and industrialized base began to sprawl.
The area emerged as The Arts District with the introduction of the Artisan in Residence Ordinance in 1981. Artists and urban pioneers moved back into the city’s core and created homes and studios in vacant and under utilized warehouses and industrial buildings, forming what is now considered the city’s creative and cultural incubator.
The current renovation and addition by Rockefeller Partners Architects preserves the historical facade while entirely reimagining the interior as 38 live/work townhome lofts.