AKA: Fairfax Theater, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Pennell, William C., Architect (firm); William C. Pennell (architect)

Dates: constructed 1929-1930

2 stories

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7907 Beverly Boulevard
Fairfax District, Los Angeles, CA 90048

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Los Angeles architect William C. Pennell designed the Fairfax Theatre as part of a larger theatre-retail complex in early 1929. The cost was set at $400,000 in a Los Angeles Times article announcing the project of 06/02/1929. This article indicated that the theatre would seat 1800, but this was reduced at the opening by about 300. (See "Beverly Boulevard Playhouse Announced," Los Angeles Times, 06/02/1929, p. E3.)

Building History

The Fairfax Theater Company, Incorporated, commissioned architect William C. Pennell to design the venue. It opened in 1929. According to [More] Los Angeles Movie Palaces.com. te owners of the Fairfax Theater Company were Gus A. Metzger, Harry Srere, and Charles A. Nichthauser. "Metzger and Srere also built the Roxie on Broadway in 1931." (See [More] Los Angeles Movie Palaces. "Fairfax Theater," accessed 04/12/2017.) In addition, this firm also owned and leased the Forum Theatre in Los Angeles. (See "Beverly Boulevard Playhouse Announced," Los Angeles Times, 06/02/1929, p. E3.) Fox West Coast Theatres obtained the lease on the location and ran it until its dissolution on 11/20/1933. Mann Theatres bought it from Fox, and operated it until 1979. By 04/11/1985, the Loew's Cineplex Odeon chain bought the Fairfax, and operated it until it was sold to Laemmle Theaters LLC in 2001. They held the property until 09/2006. In 2009, Santa Monica-based developer Alexander Gorby and B & F Associates owned the theatre and proposed keeping the facade, gutting the interior and turning it into a mixed-use, retail/apartment building. RegencyTheatres ran the theatres until 02/2010, when it closed due to a damaged roof.

In 2013, the City of Los Angeles,Office of Historic Resources, Cultural Heritage Commission denied the Fairfax historic-cultural monument status due to its lack of historical integrity. (This was lost when it was triplexed in the 1980s.) This denial of landmark status opened the way for the building to be demolished and replaced. The nomination form for landmark status was located here.

Building Notes

The 1929 Los Angeles Times article described the new mixed-use building: "The Fairfax Theater and shops as they are to be known, with a frontage of 123 1/2 feet on Beverly Boulevard and 235 feet on Fairfax Avenue will be built of reinforced concrete. The theater is a one-floor house with no balconies. Spacious foyer and private lounges have been provided. The projection room will house the latest in talking and movie equipment. The theater will be heated, cooled and ventilated by a modern refrigerating, heating and ventilating plant. The Fairfax Theater has been designed by W.C. Pennell, Vermont-avenue architect, and will be constructed under his supervision." (See "Beverly Boulevard Playhouse Announced," Los Angeles Times, 06/02/1929, p. E3.)

The Fairfax Theatre originally seated 1,504 moviegoers; at one time, the Esquire Theatre, opened in 1937, stood around the corner on Fairfax Boulevard.

In 1943, a Sontag Drug Store operated in the building's main retail space located on the corner of Beverly and Fairfax.


The single-screen original Fairfax was divided into three screens in 1981, with the auditoria seating 172, 422 and 192, for a total of 786 patrons.When Cineplex Odeon owned the building in the mid-1980s, it hired the firm ofMesbur+Smith Architects of Toronto, ON, to refurbish the triplex.

Laemmle Theatres, LLC, added new seating in 2001.

PCAD id: 4336