Like any responsible citizen, you too were probably surprised this week when the Los Angeles arm of The Real Deal published the sinisterly-titled article “Berkshire Group is renovating One Santa Fe to better ‘blend in’ with neighborhood.” That article speculated upon an earlier story published by Globe Street, where Eric Schrumpf, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions at Berkshire Group, the real estate investment management company that paid $200 million for One Santa Fe earlier this month, was quoted as saying, “We want the property to blend in with and remain true to the original nature of the Arts District.”
Could Michael Maltzan Architecture’s 2014, 434-unit housing-as-infrastructure ground scraper on the far edge of L.A.’s Arts District be in line for a facelift? With the rapidly rising land values in the Arts District, the recent ground-breaking for a dull $215 million development across the street, and One Santa Fe’s short but provocative existence, it was not difficult for The Real Deal article to stir a pot of worry and cynicism in the internet community.
After LA Observed published its own article, describing the quarter mile-long structure as “not very inviting,” Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne interpreted the news as a missive from the “be careful what you wish for dept.” over Twitter.
It all turns out to simply be not a lot of hot air.
When AN reached out to Michael Maltzan Architects and Berkshire Group for comment on the matter, we were met with a sort of bewilderment over the news. Michael Maltzan characterized the reports of large-scale changes to One Santa Fe as “greatly exaggerated” and “wishful thinking” to The Architect’s Newspaper during a telephone interview while Schrumpf remarked via email, “We have no plans for any significant renovations or major changes to the asset. I’m not sure where the information that was incorporated into some of the early articles came from, but it is not accurate.”
Maltzan prefaced our conversation by stating “We’ve been in communication with Berkshire Group since they took over the building. As far as I know, there are no plans for significant changes to One Santa Fe” before describing the building as still in the process of coming fully online. It turns out some of the commercial spaces surrounding the new Hennessey and Ingalls bookstore needed basic maintenance, he said, reiterating, “the scale of the changes is small.”