Homer Laughlin Building
The Homer Laughlin Building, at 317 South Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles, is a landmark building best known for its ground floor tenant the Grand Central Market, the city's largest and oldest public market.
Built by retired Ohio entrepreneur Homer Laughlin (founder of the Homer Laughlin China Company), the Homer Laughlin Building was the Los Angeles's first fireproofed, steel-reinforced structure. The original six-story building was designed in 1896 by architect John B. Parkinson.
In 1905 the structure was expanded through to Hill Street, called either the Laughlin Annex or the Lyon Building. This design by architect Harrison Albright was the first reinforced concrete building in Los Angeles. The first tenant was the Ville de Paris Department Store, replaced in 1917 by the Grand Central Market, which still occupies the ground floor of the building. The location was chosen because of its proximity to the Angels Flight Railway allowing for easy access to the well to do citizens of Bunker Hill.
The original building was built in the Beaux Arts style, but subsequent modifications drastically changed its appearance including the addition of a tile façade in the 1960s which hid the second story windows. Along with the attached Million Dollar Theater Building, the Homer Laughlin Building and the Grand Central Market underwent a major renovation in the 1990s under the direction of developer Ira Yellin and architect Brenda Levin. As part of the restoration residential units were added, creating downtown Los Angeles's first true mixed use developments in decades.
Grand Central Market General Manager Filomena Eriman adds, "Ethnicity has changed. The population and the merchants have changed also. It’s now, we have more Hispanic merchants and customers are eighty to ninety percent Spanish."
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