March 12, 2015

Downtown LA's Giannini Place Undergoing $180-Million Makeover

The once-magnificent office building at Olive and 7th streets is on the verge of a new life, resurrected by an expanding downtown Los Angeles renaissance that is bringing thousands of new residents, visitors, and billions of dollars of new development and renovation. The building is named after A.P. Giannini, the son of Italian immigrants who founded Bank of Italy in 1904. He pioneered the notion that banks should serve ordinary people, not just cater to the wealthy. When Giannini Place - then known as the Bank of Italy Building - opened it had a massive vault that included space for 12,000 safe-deposit boxes. The main vault door weighted 50 tons. Bank of Italy, already the largest bank in the West by 1923, also encouraged deposits from a group that most banks at the time overlooked - women and children. It became Bank of America in 1930.  The Sydell Group will operate the hotel. Plans call for 250 guest rooms that would either face outward or look into a large existing light well in the center of upper floors of Giannini Place.