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Renovated Entrance Juxtaposes Old and New on Broadway

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, February 26, 2009, at 07:10PM
Broadway Exchange Building Lofts, Previously The Haas Building Rich Alossi [Flickr]

The uncovered original facade, as shown at Angelenic.

Just over a year ago, workers renovating the Broadway Exchange building uncovered a piece of history thought to have been lost. Beneath metal panels lay an ornate building sign, with the structure's original name surrounded by terra cotta scrollwork.

In recent weeks the restored entryway has been unveiled, and the result is striking.

The 1915 building had been given a complete makeover in the 1970s, with the classic exterior lost to brown metal panels. While much of the exterior brick and detail work was removed, the pieces around the entryway survived, though they were heavily damaged.

The Haas Building opened in 1915 with the Bank of Italy as its ground floor tenant. The structure was built by Abraham Haas, president of Haas, Baruch & Co., with reports at the time saying that the building was costing roughly $500,000. It was designed by architects Morgan, Walls & Morgan.

The building has some notable tenants. In June of 1916 the Chicago Tribune opened a branch office there, hoping to attract California advertisers to the midwestern paper. In the early 1920s the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan held an office in the structure. Haas Realty notified the group that it would not be renewing their lease soon after officers working under the District Attorney raided the building, seizing two carloads of records.

The building is currently in the final stages of a 68-unit residential conversion.


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