AKA: Millenium Biltmore Hotel, Pershing Square, Los Angeles, CA; Regal Biltmore Hotel, Pershing Square, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings -public accommodations - hotels

Designers: Arnett Electric Company, Electrical Engineers (firm); Englekirk and Hart, Structural Engineers (firm); Fever Corporation, Mechanical Engineers (firm); Johnson, Marcia, Interior Design (firm); R.W. Swarens Associates, Lighting Engineers (firm); Schorr, Barnett, and Company, Architects (firm); Schultze and Weaver, Architects (firm); Summers, Gene, and Lambert, Phyllis, Architects (firm); Westgroup Construction, Building Contractors (firm); Endre Bartanyi (architect); Earl Theodore Heitschmidt (architect); Marcia Johnson (interior designer); Phyllis Barbara Lambert (architect); Barnett Paul Schorr (architect); Leonard B. Schultze (architect); S. Fullerton Weaver Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1921-1923

11 stories

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515 South Olive Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013-1006

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Southwest corner of South Olive Street and West Fifth Streets. Also listed is an entrance at 506 South Grand Street.

Building History

At eleven stories and approximately 900 rooms, the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, CA, was one of the city's largest and most anticipated building projects of the early 1920s. The New York-based architects, Schultze and Weaver, designed 14 luxury hotels between 1921-1931, starting with the Biltmore in 1923 and followed by the Breakers (Palm Beach, FL, 1926), the Sherry-Netherland (New York, NY, 1927), the Pierre (New York, NY, 1930) and capped off by the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel #2, (New York, NY, 1931). Originally, the Biltmore complex also included the fashionable Biltmore Theatre (demolished 1964) which staged lived productions. The Los Angeles architect, Earl T. Heitschmidt, served as the local liaison for Schultze and Weaver. In preparation for the Biltmore's construction, two existing buildings, the Young Women's Boarding Home and Saint Paul’s Pro-Cathedral, were demolished in 1922. In 1998, the hotel was known as the "Regal Biltmore;" Millenium Hotels and Resorts bought the Regal Biltmore in 2000 and renamed it the "Millenium Biltmore Hotel."

Building Notes

The Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel opened 10/01/1923; eleven railroad cars transported John McEntee Bowman, President of the New York-based Bowman Biltmore Hotels Corporation, and his guests to opening festivities. It is possible that Bowman might have hired the New York firm of Warren and Wetmore to design the Los Angeles Biltmore, as Bowman had worked with it on two large New York hotels previously, the Biltmore (1913) and Commodore (1919). Warren and Wetmore, however, became embroiled in an unpleasant breach of contract suit with the architectural firm Reed and Stem, with which Warren and Wetmore had collaborated on the design of Grand Central Terminal and the Biltmore Hotel between 1904 and 1911. The Minneapolis-based Reed and Stem had actually won the 1903 competition staged by the New York Central Railroad and chose to associate with New York-based Warren and Wetmore on the project. After the death of Charles Reed, who served as "executive head of the work," in 1911, the court found that Warren and Wetmore had unlawfully reproposed a new contract with the railroad making it the sole designer of the project. The outcome of this case did not provide good publicity for the firm, and may have influenced

Between 1930-1942, the Biltmore periodically hosted the Academy Awards ceremony. The Biltmore Bowl Room hosted the Oscars in 1935-1939 and 1941-1942. The Sala d'Oro hosted the event in 1931. Tel: 800.245.8673 (2007).

In 1937, the Biltmore Hotel's garage had one of three Hertz "Drive-Ur-Self" Stations in Southern CA. The other two rental car agency locations were at 1531 North Vine Street in Hollywood and 44 South Raymond Avenue in Pasadena. (See Hertz ad, Los Angeles A-L, California, City Directory, 1937, p. 228.)

Alteration

Due to its success, Schultze and Weaver designed an addition to the Biltmore in 1928 facing Grand Avenue. A major remodeling occurred beginning in 1976 by Gene Summers and Phyllis Lambert, who invested her own significant resources to save the building. (Lambert was a member of the Canadian Bronfman distilling family.) This 1976-1979 renovation was notable for its use of modern furnishings. Another remodeling undertaken by Marcia Johnson Interiors and Barnett Schorr Architects during the Post-Modern Era in 1986, was more historical in its approach to building details and furniture; (David Gebhard and Robert Winter in their guidebook to Los Angeles architecture mistakenly refer to the architecture firm as "Barnett and Schorr." See An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles, [Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith, Inc., 2003], p. 245.) Anthony T. Heinsbergen, son of the founder of the well-known architectural painting company, renovated interior ceilings; others involved in the 1986 renovation included: Westgroup Construction/Turner Management, General Contractors; Englekirk and Hart, Structural Engineers; Fever Corporation, Mechanical Engineers; Arnett Electric, Electrical Engineers; R.W. Swarens, Lighting Engineers; Michael Yantis Associates, Acoustical Engineers;

Los Angeles County Historic-Cultural Monument: ID n/a

Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument (07/02/1969): ID n/a

PCAD id: 185