March 12, 2020 – Avison Young announced today the $8.2 million sale of the historic Farmers & Merchants Bank building. Located at 401 S. Main Street in the Historic Core of the downtown Old Bank District, the elegant 16,446-square-foot (sf) trophy creative office property was built in 1904, renovated numerous times through 2012, and has been used intermittently for movie shoots, meetings and banquet space over the past 30 years.
Avison Young Principals Patrick Barnes and Hayden Eaves, who are both located in the firm’s downtown Los Angeles office, represented the seller Los Angeles-based 401 Tartine, LLC, managed by Gilmore Associates, LLC. The buyer, Main Street Trading Group, LLC, was represented by Lee Polster of EOP Realty.
“This generational asset garnered an incredible amount of interest with more than 50 property tours and 17 offers,” said Barnes. “The buyer appreciated that it was procuring a piece of L.A. history and has an experienced team in place to realize the true potential of this trophy building.”
Eaves added, “The new ownership will invest what is needed to bring this building back to its original prominence. When completed, it will be a prime example of historical architectural revitalization integrating all the modern amenities and technology needed for a functioning creative company.”
Located in the Historic Core, 401 S. Main Street is next to the Arts District and two blocks from Grand Central Market and a metro stop. More than 3,500 residential units surround the asset within a two-block radius as well as more than $1 billion in development activity.
About the Historic Building:
The Farmers & Merchant Bank was one of the first banks to be incorporated in LA’s burgeoning Financial District of the early 20th century, the ‘Wall Street of the West’ and is poised to enjoy the benefits of strong tenant demand, population growth and more than $30 billion of investment over the past 20 years in downtown. The granite-clad building situated on a 15-acre lot was designed in an elegant neoclassical style by Morgan and Walls, one of the Los Angeles’ earliest and most distinguished architectural firms. The three-story (mezzanine, ground floor, and basement) commercial building is clad in hewn granite with a polished granite base and features a flat roof with a tall parapet that surrounds a barrel-vaulted skylight. Paired columns on marble pedestals, topped with Corinthian capitals, frame tall, arched apertures on the lower story of the center bays. The property also includes 66 parking spaces in an adjacent parking structure.
The Farmers & Merchants Bank building is classified under the Mills Act as a historic registered building. It is noteworthy for the lending institution’s longevity (from 1871 to 1952) and stability during a time of meteoric growth for the City of Los Angeles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It remains one of Southern California’s finest examples of the early “temples of finance” which were popular at the turn of the century.