AKA: Alexandria Hotel, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA

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

Designers: Parkinson, John, Architect (firm); John Parkinson (architect)

Dates: constructed 1905-1906

8 stories

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501 South Spring Street
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90013-2004

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The Alexandra Hotel occupied the southwest corner of South Spring Street and West 5th Street in the city's Financial District.

Overview

Prolific Los Angeles architect John Parkinson designed this important hotel for a location on the corner of South Spring Street and West 5th Street in the heart of the city's booming Financial District.

Building History

Los Angeles architect John Parkinson (1861-1935) designed this eight-story hotel for the real estate investors Albert C. Bilicke (1861-1915) and Robert A. Rowan, two men who together operated multiple businesses, including hotel operations, and accumulated tremendous wealth in Southern California real estate. Bilicke, a son of German immigrants born in Coos Bay, OR, attended secondary schools in San Francisco as well as that city's Heald Business College. He moved to work in his family's hotels in Cosmopolitan Hotels in Florence (1878) and Tombstone, AZ (1880). Like many in AZ, he became interested in gaining wealth from mining enterprises, in this case, he worked for the Pedro Consolidated Mining Company. Perhaps tiring of the Desert Southwest's relentelss heat, Bilicke returned to CA in 1885, operating Santa Rosa's first hotel, then moving to operate Modesto's Ross House (c. 1887), and then, in 1891, moving to Santa Cruz to oversee the Pacific Ocean House, a posh seaside resort hotel. In 1893, he gathered the capital to open one of Los Angeles's most luxurious hotels of the period, the Hollenbeck House, which he continued to operate until his death. (See "Bilicke, Albert C.," article from the Press Reference Library, Western Edition Notables of the West, Vol. I, [New York: International News Service, 1913], p. 82)

In 1903, he and Rowan incorporated the Bilicke-Rowan Fireproof Building Company a real estate development firm "...principally for the purpose of improving in the most modern and substantial manner some of the many central business sites which he and his associates had acquired." This firm engaged with Parkinson to build the Hotel Alexandria. They diversified into other companies, most formed to erect new buildings in Downtown Los Angeles, including the Bilicke-Rowan Annex Company (responsible for the construction of the Hotel Alexandria's 1911 Annex), the Century Building Company formed in 1906, and the Central Fireproof Building Company (also created in 1906). Their Chester Fireproof Building Company built the Title Insurance and Trust Company Building #1. Rowan's real estate firm, R.A. Rowan and Company, served as the leasing agent for both the Security Building at 510 South Spring Street (across the street from the Hotel Alexandria) and the aforementioned Title Insurance and Trust Company Building #1.

Building Notes

Once one of the city's most posh hotels, the Los Angeles Times cited the Alexandria Hotel as the worst drug-trafficking location in Los Angeles in 1988; used as a weekly rental hotel in 2004.

In 1913, the Home Savings Bank had its offices in the Alexandria Hotel. (See advertisement in the Los Angeles City Directory, 1913, between pages 2108 and 2109.)

Los Angeles County Assessor Number: 5149-034-006

PCAD id: 1935