Los Altos Apartments
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Los Altos Apartments
Los Altos Apartments, May 2008
|Location||4121 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, California|
|Architect||Rust, Edward B.; Mayo, Luther|
|Architectural style||Mission/Spanish Revival|
|NRHP Reference #||99000765|
|Added to NRHP||July 1, 1999|
Los Altos was built in 1925 and designed by Edward B. Rust and Luther Mayo. In 1999, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
When built, the Los Altos Apartments began as a co-op and were later used as a luxury apartment and hotel catering to stars like Clara Bow, Bette Davis, Mae West, Douglas Fairbanks, and William Randolph Hearst. The Spanish Colonial-style building went bankrupt during the Great Depression and fell into disrepair. In 1993, a local housing group Neighborhood Effort rescued the structure from demolition and obtained national historic site status by tracking down its original parts and design details such as floor tiles, doorknobs, and colors.
In the 1980’s the building became a magnet for a bohemian list of residents. Jeff Ayeroff, who went on to co-found Shangri-La Music lived in the building as did screenwriter Becky Johnston while she wrote the scripts “Under the Cherry Moon” for Prince and “The Prince of Tides” for Barbra Streisand. Artists Nancy Reese, Phil Garner, Eric Blum and Tom Shannon all rented living quarters and art dealer Richard Kuhlenschmidt opened the Richard Kuhlenschmidt Gallery in the basement of the building. New York hotshots Richard Prince and Sherrie Levine had their first L.A. exhibitions there. Actor Frederic Forrest was living at the Los Altos when he turned in his critically acclaimed performance in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1988 film “Tucker: The Man and His Dream”, as did musician Tommy Gear, who was a founding member of revered L.A. punk group The Screamers. 
Los Angeles-based architectural firm M2A rehabilitated the 75-unit structure, and restored its original decor. The firm restored or recreated Los Altos’ original light fixtures, hardware, carpets, plaster work, awnings, and ornamental iron work. The rehabilitation "successfully transformed the property from a vacant, blighted, graffiti-infested building into a healthy, mixed-income building serving the very low income population as well as the market population." Today, Los Altos is the home to artists, screenwriters, and actors. In 1999, Los Altos received several preservation design awards from the California Preservation Foundation and the Los Angeles Conservancy. The landmark also received a Historic Preservation Award of Excellence from the city of Los Angeles.
The television series Angel prominently featured exterior shots of the Los Altos Apartments, in seasons 2 - 4, it acted as the exterior of the Hyperion Hotel, the home and base of titular character and his friends. The 'Los Altos Apartments' building was also featured in a season 1 episode of Angel called "I Fall To Pieces", where it was used as both exterior and interior for the apartment building of a guest character.
In the fifth episode of the second season of the television series Numb3rs, called Assassin, the building was used as the exterior of the Rancho Verde Assisted Living building.
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Los Angeles
- List of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments in the Wilshire and Westlake areas
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15.
- McKenna, Kristine (April 28, 2005). "Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain". LA Weekly.
- LOS ALTOS APARTMENTS, LP v. City of Los Angeles, No. B222174 (Cal. Ct. App. July 7, 2011)(rent abatement for housing code violations). <http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=6667827209919705812&hl=en&as_sdt=2,5>