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Garden-Like Figueroa Courtyard and the Suburban Downtown

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2008, at 03:09PM
Figueroa Courtyard Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Yesterday's story on UCLA Extension's move brought out a discussion on the Figueroa Courtyard and World Trade Center complexes. Several commenters derided the suburban nature of the two developments, and I pointed out that this was actually a selling point when Figueroa Courtyard was constructed in 1978.

The complex was originally slated to be the new home of the Pacific Stock Exchange, and was dubbed Exchange Square. The Exchange dropped out as a tenant before construction began, but the development continued and was named "The Park" for its garden qualities. A Times story from August of 1979 quotes leasing company senior V.P. Dan Matlow on the appeal of the complex. Matlow said the five buildings "offer the downtown office space user with the choice of a garden office environment for the first time in the history of any central city financial district in the country."

The grounds of the complex were named after the project's councilman, Gilbert Lindsay. At the dedication of the "Gilbert W. Lindsay Mall" the councilman spoke highly of the project.

I'm delighted to be here for the dedication of this magnificent complex that proves there is faith in the Central City of Los Angeles and that you can develop a low-rise building in downtown Los Angeles with all the amenities you could want including plantings and everything that makes for livability in the city.

Again, Dan Matlow:

The Park will prove popular not only for offices but for lunching and dining because of its casual outdoor low-rise atmosphere in the midst of fully landscaped gardens.

In an earlier article Matlow and architect Daniel L. Dwrosky are cited as having "praise for the CRA's willingness to consider low-rise, suburban-type development for the downtown project."

I imagine that the "Gilbert W. Lindsay Mall" would make a good clue on a Downtown scavenger hunt.


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