Eastern Columbia Building

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"Eastern Building" redirects here. It is not to be confused with East Building or Eastern architecture.

Coordinates: 34°02′34″N 118°15′22″W / 34.042751°N 118.256226°W / 34.042751; -118.256226

Eastern Columbia Building
Eastern Columbia Tower - Los Angeles.jpg
Eastern Columbia Building
Location 849 S. Broadway, Los Angeles
Built 1930
Architect Claud Beelman
Architectural style(s) Art Deco
Designated June 28, 1985[1]
Reference no. 294[1]

The Eastern Columbia Building is a thirteen-story building located at 849 S. Broadway in the Broadway Theater District (Los Angeles) of Downtown Los Angeles and is widely considered the greatest surviving example of Art Deco architecture in the city[2] following the 1969 destruction of Richfield Tower. It is easily spotted from Interstate 10 due to its bright turquoise color and four-sided clock tower. The Eastern Columbia is lovingly referred to as the "Jewel of Downtown."

The Eastern Columbia was listed as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 294 in 1985.[1][3] The property meets the criteria for HCM designation because it reflects the broad cultural, economic, or social history of the nation, state, or community. It was built as the new headquarters and 39th store for the Eastern Outfitting Company and the Columbia Outfitting Company, founded by Adolph Sieroty and family. It has become a visual landmark and is representative of the vitality of Los Angeles' retail and commercial core.[4][5]

The building sits in the Historic Core, which is rich in historic architecture, and has largely maintained its historic integrity, due in large part to hard fought preservation efforts,[6][7] the 1999 Adaptive Re-Use Ordinance,[8] and Coucilmember Jose Huizar's "Bringing Back Broadway" initiative.[9] The Eastern Columbia is surrounded by a wealth of historic buildings. Just across the street on Broadway is the restored 1926 Orpheum Theatre. Across 9th Street, at the southeast corner of 9th and Hill Streets, sits the 1926 May Company California garage, which was one of the nation's first parking structures (Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 1001). Also across 9th Street is the 1916 Blackstone Building (Los Angeles) (Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 765). Across Hill Street is the 1926 Coast Federal Savings Building (Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 346). Directly to the north sits the 1908 May Company Building (Broadway, Los Angeles), which was originally a Hamburger's Department Store (Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 459). Only steps away is the 1927 United Artists Theater Building, (Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 523), which is now the Ace Hotel Los Angeles.

Developer Kor Realty Group turned the property into condominiums that opened in fall 2006. The Eastern Columbia earned a 2008 Conservancy Preservation Award.[10]


Historic Core skyline
Eastern Columbia

The Eastern Columbia Building was designed by Claud Beelman and opened on September 12, 1930, after just nine 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 the 1930s.

Over several decades, the city's airwaves chimed the jingle "Eastern Columbia, Broadway at Ninth" to advise Los Angeles shoppers of new arrivals and special offers at Downtown's flagship department store.[11]

Building features[edit]

Eastern Columbia Entrance
Terra cotta sunburst design in gold behind sky blue and deep blue above main entrance

It is built of steel-reinforced concrete and clad in glossy turquoise terra cotta trimmed with deep blue and gold trim.[12] 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 patterns, 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 a 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.


  1. ^ a b c Department of City Planning. "Designated Historic-Cultural Monuments". City of Los Angeles. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  2. ^ Acne Studios Eastern Columbia Building in Downtown L.A. now open Jose Huizar - Councilmember District 14, City of Los Angeles
  3. ^ 1929 Landmark Recommended for Historic-Monument Status
  4. ^ Historic Places LA
  5. ^ Historic Places LA
  6. ^ Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources
  7. ^ Los Angeles County Historic Preservation
  8. ^ Adaptive Reuse Ordinance
  9. ^ Bringing Back Broadway Jose Huizar - Councilmember District 14, City of Los Angeles
  10. ^ Eastern Columbia Lofts Los Angeles Conservancy
  11. ^ Julian M. Sieroty; Retail Store Chain Former Executive
  12. ^ Wurman, Richard Saul & Pietschmann, Patti Covello. Access Los Angeles. HarperCollins (2008), p. 37.

External links[edit]