Los Angeles, California
The 1889 Boyle Hotel was known as the ‘Gateway of Boyle Heights’-- a rare example of Victorian - Italianate commercial architecture that showcased Los Angeles’ growth in the 19th century. Originally the tallest building in Boyle Heights, the hotel was converted into apartments and housed many musicians from nearby Mariachi Plaza. Yet the iconic structure became plagued by maintenance issues, and vermin, and it was threatened by demolition in 2006. Then, the East LA Community Corporation purchased the building to create affordable housing for the surrounding low-income community. The group used local and state subsidies, tax credits, and private equity to preserve the exterior, update the interior, and restore the signature red brick and gold cupola. Now, the Boyle Hotel has reopened with rehearsal space for local mariachis, a business center, a new Metro line across the street, and more. Its restoration shows how community engagement and creative thinking can save a cultural treasure.