The Maxfield Building History
Maxfield was the first building in downtown LA made of all reinforced concrete. Designed by Architect John Montgomery Cooper, the building was revolutionary in efficient and simplistic design, showcasing exposed concrete in place of elaborate ornamentation. Cooper graduate of Yale, built over 40 structures (including Grether and Grether, Roxie Theater in Hollywood) during his 37 year career.
This Art Deco style building was built in 1925 for Allen Maxfield. He was a Banker from Arkansas who used the Maxfield building to house his business operations, Maxfield & Co., a wholesale textile and dry goods company and factor. The LA Times once described Maxfield as a pioneer in the textile trade due to the manufacturing and later the financing for the garment industry.
In addition to his garment business, Allen Maxfield was also a member of the Board of Directors for the Seaboard National bank, which took up the 3 bays of retail space on the first floor. He was also the Director in Charge of the branch; through his experience and father/grandfathers working in the banking industry. The bank specialized in loans to garment manufactures and development of financing the garment industry, resulting in the emergence of the industry as an international economic powerhouse. It's been stated that the garment industry would not have become an internationally recognized powerhouse without the financing provided by Maxfield and Co. Seaboard would serve conventional loans as well as be the collection agency to work on behalf of the manufacturer to collect the debts from the retailer. Within 8 years of opening, (1925-1933) the garment industry rose from 55 factories (over 1000 workers) to 316 factories (9000 workers) mainly due to the open credit Seaboard bank provided.
Bank of America purchased Seaboard in 1936 because of the substantial value. Each suite above the main floor served as a corporate office for over 100 manufacturing companies. Customers would call into the main phone line located in the lobby of the building and the operator would transfer the call throughout the building offices. The corridors are significant with solid wood doors, door frames, and commercial inspired transoms.
The building shape is exceptional with an additional 5th side view displaying neighboring downtown high rise views.
Penthouses were required to have a specific setback mandated by the Historic Preservation Offices such that they weren't visible from a certain distance. The historic preservation Secretary of Interior Standards (also known as the historic guidelines) state any additions must not appear new. For the Maxfield, this requirement opened up accessibility of each penthouse having individual outdoor patios. Signage was restored adding LED lighting.
Another significant owner of the building was Jack Needleman (ANJAC). He used the mezzanine for their corporate office for decades. Upon demolition, the owners found a safe but without the code. After hiring a safe opener, found multiple pieces of jewelry worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and family documents, all owned by the Needleman family. Today, Steve Needleman, continues to play a role in DTLA as owner of the Orpheam Theater.
The legacy of the Maxfield building continues to shine - Don’t miss your chance to be apart of history and live in DTLA’s famous fashion district!