The National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) built its West Coast Headquarters at 1850 Industrial Street in 1925 but sold the property in the 1960s. When the team at LCD began development of the Biscuit Company project, the 180,000 square foot warehouse was less than 40 percent occupied. There was no parking, no green space, substandard fire-life-safety systems and only 19 people working in the building. The property had an assessed value of $2.4 million.
Working with architect Alex Istanbulu, the team at LCD developed a program for the conversion of the building that included transforming the loading dock into a French-style bistro and replacing storage sheds that were adjacent to the main structure with a 12,000 square foot garden and in-ground, seventy-five foot saline swimming pool. By reworking the basement and adding exterior decking, the team was able to provide on-site parking for 154 vehicles. And after a concerted search to locate the original plans, the building was carefully restored so as to embellish the architectural heritage of the structure.
The Biscuit Company project was completed by Swinerton as the general contractor and, once again, on time and on budget. Despite the economic downturn, all 104 live-work units sold out within one year. The super-penthouse, which was converted from the old water tower, set the record for the highest price ever paid for a downtown loft. Nearly 30 new businesses and close to 150 jobs were located in the building. And the bistro space, operated by Church and State, has become a destination restaurant with annual sales of nearly $1300 per square foot.
The conversion of the Biscuit Company was honored by the Los Angeles Conservancy. And the new assessed value of approximately $74 million has been a major boon to the City and County.