AKA: Pan American Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA; Giant Penny Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Barany, Donald Alex, Architects (firm); Hunt, Sumner P., Architect (firm); Wyman, George Herbert, Architect (firm); Donald Alex Barany (architect); Sumner P. Hunt (architect); George Herbert Wyman (architect)

Dates: constructed 1895-1896

5 stories

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253 South Broadway
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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The Byrne Block stood at West 3rd Street and South Broadway, and was located on a diagonal across the street from the Bradbury Building, by George Herbert Wyman and Sumner P. Hunt;


The five-floor Byrne Building, also known under several other names including the Irvine/Byrne Building, Pan American Building and the Giant Penny Building, opened in the mid-1890s, occupying important commercial space on the fast-expanding business thoroughfare of South Broadway.

Building History

Architect George Herbert Wyman (1860-1939), best known for his work on the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles, CA (1891-1893) supervised the construction of the Byrne Building, c. 1895, for the architect, Sumner P. Hunt (1865-1938). The Byrne Building was erected on the northwest corner of 3rd Street and Broadway.

In 1896, James W. Byrne, a capitalist, had his office in Room #436 of the Byrne Block. James Byrne lived in San Francisco, CA, at the time. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1896, p. 341.) He occupied Room #438 the following year. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1897, p. 187.)

Building Notes

The Byrne Building had five retail storefronts facing South Broadway. These space had clerestory lighting to enable daylight to penetrate deep into the interior.

The architectural firm of Blick, Moore and Price occupied Rooms #302-304 of the Byrne Building in 1896. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1896, p. 275.)

Architect Fernand Parmentier (d. 1915), who would die in World War I, occupied Office #538 in the Byrne Building in 1908.

In 1908, the McCormick-Henderson Company, a building products company, occupied office #417 in the Byrne Building. The company also had a San Francisco office at 110 Bush Street.

The Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, founded in San Francisco, had its office in Room #230 of the Byrne Building in 1921. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1921, p. 1853.)

During World War II, the Byrne Block housed the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles.

A Giant Penny discount store operated in the Byrne Block between 1980s and 2004.


The Byrne Building experienced a serious fire on 02/16/1911.

Long Beach-based Urban Pacific Builders spent $20 million to renovate the Byrne Block into loft apartments in 2004-2005. It was initially named the "CityView Lofts," and later the "Pan American Lofts." The building's facade was retained but the interior was largely removed. Donald Barany Architects supervised this mid-2000s loft remodel.

Top LA Lofts.com summarized the work that went into this renovation: "A new roof was added, the garage ceiling was raised, and an entirely new elevator corridor was built. The rows of offices were converted into chic, spacious loft units, each with 12-17 foot ceilings, and floor to ceiling windows offering timeless views of the downtown landscape. Loft residences offer original exposed brick and concrete walls, plentiful natural light, high end stainless steel appliances that compliment and bring out much of the building's unique features." (See Top LA Lofts.com, "Pan American Lofts 253 S Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90012," accessed 10/31/2022.)

In 2006, a one-bedroom loft was offered for sale for $470,000. (See "Pan American Lofts: Own a Piece of LA's History," Los Angeles Times, 09/30/2006, p. 69.)

Los Angeles County Assessor Number: 5149009027

PCAD id: 5022