Piazza del Sol | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo from Conservancy archives

Piazza del Sol

Built as a luxury apartment house called the Hacienda Arms, the Piazza del Sol is a notable local example of the Italian Renaissance Revival style in a multi-family residential building.

The symmetrical, five-story brick building was designed to resemble an Italian villa. It is faced in smooth plaster and features elaborate Renaissance and Venetian Gothic detailing made of cast stone. A grand double staircase leads from the street to a terrace at the main entrance level, both of which feature a cast stone balustrade.

Over the years, the building’s Sunset Boulevard location attracted several famous tenants, including actress Marie Dressler and Hollywood madam Lee Francis, who was convicted in 1940 of running a house of ill repute on the site.

The building was eventually abandoned and fell into disrepair. After a 1983 fire caused by a vagrant gutted the interior, new owners undertook a $4 million renovation to restore the historic apartment building and convert it into commercial space. Today, Piazza del Sol houses a gourmet restaurant and business offices.

The Conservancy holds an easement protecting the building’s historic exterior.

Photo by Juan Kenobi

Pasadena Playhouse

Opened in 1925, the Pasadena Community Playhouse was designed by Elmer Grey and built by the Winter Construction Co. As the new home of the Pasadena Community Theatre, the Playhouse quickly became a hub of the theatre community west of the Mississippi River.