AKA: Bryson Apartment Hotel, Lafayette Park, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses - apartment houses

Designers: Engstrum, F.O., and Company, Building Contractors (firm); Kysor and Noonan (firm); H. W. Bryson (building contractor); Franz Otto Engstrum (building contractor); Frederick Edgar Engstrum (building contractor); Charles H. Kysor (architect); Frederick B. Noonan (architect)

Dates: constructed 1911-1913

10 stories, total floor area: 110,000 sq. ft.

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2701 Wilshire Boulevard
Westlake, Los Angeles, CA 90057-3244

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The Bryson Apartments stood on the northwest corner of Wilshire and Rampart Boulevards.

Overview

This grand, 93-unit apartment hotel opened at this Westlake address on 02/15/1913.

Building History

The Los Angeles developer, Hugh W. Bryson, assembled the parcel on which the Bryson Apartments were built in 1911. First plans for the apartment building called for a shorter one (6 stories in height) placed directly on Wilshire Boulevard and Rampart Street, but neighbors in this community of single-family houses objected to the looming scale of this design. To get around this, he revised his plans, devising a much taller design (10 stories) that was set back 100 feet from the Wilshire-Rampart corner. Bryson utilized his own construction company, the F.C. Engstrum and Company, to erect the 10-story apartment building very rapidly between 06/1912-12/1912. Bryson built the Bryson Apartment Hotel for approximately $750,000 and had immediate success with filling it; he sold it 3 years later for $1.25 million to a drug store businessman, Frederick William Braun. Hotel owner John Hernan bought the building in the 1920s for $900,000.

The actor, Fred MacMurray (1908-1991), a successful landlord and skinflint, bought the Bryson for $600,000 in 09/1944, holding its title until the early 1970s.

Building Notes

This large, 320-room apartment block--"the finest west of New York City" according to the Los Angeles Times--was located off of Lafayette Park. It had its own parking garage built c. 1913.

The rooftop of the Byson had a billiard room, an observation deck and a 45-by-60-foot ballroom, containing an ample 2700 square feet of space.

The Bryson was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, 04/07/1983. It became Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #653 on 09/18/1998.

The Los Angeles County Assessor indicated that the Bryson Apartments contained 89,240 square feet in 2018.

Alteration

The Bryson underwent a $5.5 million renovation in 1998-1999, undertaken by the Los Angeles Housing Partnership. The firm received some public historic preservation tax credits while renovating the building and provided space for low-income residents. According to the firm's web site: "Los Angeles Housing Partnership performed a complete renovation and restoration of the Bryson which included the reconfiguration of the existing units from 93 to 81 apartments, including approximately 24 units for large families with children." (See Los Angeles Housing Partnership.com, "Bryson Apartments," accessed 06/272018.) As part of this restoration, the Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) Youth Center was located on the building's first floor providing education and athletic programming for kids aged 6-19.

National Register of Historic Places: 83001184 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

Los Angeles City Historical-Cultural Monument (1998): 653

Los Angeles County Assessor Number: 5141-010-007

PCAD id: 5804