Mansfield Art Deco design pays homage to 1930s Theatre

| March 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

ELEMENTS of Art Deco are reflected in the architecture.

The Mansfield, a mixed-use project with 138 apartments above ground-floor retail, a yoga studio and dining, is getting ready for its close-up.

The property at 5100 Wilshire Blvd. — at the corner of Mansfield Ave. — was once home to the Four Star Theatre, which opened in 1932.

The apartment complex is set to start leasing soon for a May or June opening, said developer Aaron Korda of the Korda Group.

Two floors of the six-story, Art Deco-style building feature lofts with 18-foot ceilings. Amenities at the complex include private balconies, a pool and Jacuzzi, fire pits, a gym, clubhouse, outdoor movie theater and spacious decks with views of downtown and the Hollywood Hills.

The project has three levels of parking, two of them underground, with a total of 309 spaces. The garage will be equipped with electric vehicle charging stations.

Automobile Club, yoga

A ground-floor, 13,000- square-foot retail area will include an office of the Automobile Club of Southern California, which is relocating from Century City to make room for the Metro Purple Line station there, said Korda.

The Automobile Club will lease 6,500 square feet on the west end, with a yoga studio opening on the east side of the building; another 2,500 square feet is available for a restaurant or coffee shop, Korda said.

The Art Deco-style architecture is reminiscent of the original movie theater, which will be memorialized in the project breezeway by three murals by artist Jeanine Hattas based on historic photos, painted on canvas and applied to the concrete walls.

The largest, 34 feet by 13 feet, shows crowds at a 1939 movie premiere attended by the Keystone Cops, Mr. and Mrs. Darryl Zanuck, Cesar Romero, Joan Crawford, Don Ameche and Alice Faye, among others.

Three framed art pieces from the 900-seat theater will hang in the main lobby.

Other notable events at the old theater included staging the press preview of “Gone with the Wind” in 1939.

The Four Star was one of several theaters commissioned by United Artists and Fox West Coast Theatres and was designed by the firm of Walker and Eisen, with Clifford Balch as architect, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy.

The former movie house featured Art Deco details including inscribed chevrons, stripes, and abstract figurative and floral motifs, as well as a central tower that rose in a series of staggered steps.

In the early 1970s, the San Francisco-based Mitchell Brothers purchased the Four Star and screened pornographic movies here.

Oasis Church

In 1997, the Theatre was purchased by Oasis Church, and, in 2007, renamed Oasis Theatre with church services held on Sundays.

The building was sold in 2012 and was demolished in 2015 for the new mixed-use development spanning the entire block.

A Miami Beach modern forts of the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association and the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, which both welcomed Plus Architects’ re-design.

“We originally had designed a modern building, and the neighborhood gave us feedback that they did not think it fit with the surrounding area. We were able to use that feedback and collaborate with our architect to ultimately come up with the Art Deco design,” Korda said.

The new building’s homage to the area’s past includes a theater marquee and geometric parapets. Under the dropped ceiling of the marquee will be theater-style light bulbs. “Also, there is a fountain with custom tiling, and the balconies all have precast stone façades,” Korda said.

The sidewalk will be widened on Wilshire with a double row of trees planted, including palms, and there will be outdoor seating.

The building steps down to two and three floors in the back. Parking for the retail will enter on Orange Drive, residential entry will be from Mansfield.

An “Amazon Hub” for residents and the public will be in the breezeway.

Residents will have a private package locker system. “Packages will be delivered into the secured lockers, and residents will receive a text, notifying them to retrieve the package from the locker.”

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