EASTERN COLUMBIA BUILDING
849 S. Broadway
Claud Beelman, 1930
Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #294
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
The Eastern Columbia Building, designed by Claud Beelman, opened on September 12, 1930, after just nine short months of construction. It was built as the new headquarters of the Eastern Outfitting Company and the Columbia Outfitting Company, furniture and clothing stores. With the construction of this lavish structure, the companies could also boast one of the largest buildings constructed in downtown until after WWII.
Located in the Broadway Theater and Commercial District, the Eastern Columbia Building is thirteen stories high. It is built of steel reinforced concrete and clad in glossy turquoise terra cotta trimmed with deep blue and gold terra cotta.
The building's vertical emphasis is accentuated by deeply recessed bands of paired windows and spandrels with copper panels separated by vertical columns. The façade is decorated with a wealth of motifs - sunburst patters, geometric shapes, zigzags, chevrons and stylized animal and plant forms. The building is capped with a four-sided clock tower emblazoned with the name Eastern in neon and crowned with a central smokestack surrounded by four stylized flying buttresses.
The sidewalks surrounding the Broadway and Ninth Street sides of the building are of multi-colored terrazzo laid in dynamic pattern of zigzags and chevrons. The central main entrance has a spectacular recessed two-story vestibule adorned with a blue and gold terra cotta sunburst. The vestibule originally led to a pedestrian retail arcade running through the center of the building.
This downtown landmark recently underwent a $30 million conversion in 2006 into 140 luxury condominiums.