In land uses evolved, many developments having

order for a developer to build a thriving property, they must have a complete
understanding of the surrounding neighborhood in relation to their site.
Historical analysis serves as a vital tool to developers when they want to gain
a complete picture. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of that parcel’s
history will play an essential role to developers when they want to make plans
for the future. “If we also think of the future in strategic terms, then we
provide intellectual frames within which it is possible to learn from the past
in more than short-lived or fragmented increments” (Mandelbaum 188). During the early 1900s, Los Angeles had
designated different land uses which made for separate areas that were
self-governed. Los Angeles furthermore remained a thriving city due to the
careful planning and the mapping that was laid out. This has further been
attributed to the fact that developers took into account the historical context
of the neighborhood and surrounding areas. As Los Angeles’s land uses evolved,
many developments having been made, but they still kept intact the pre-existing

The Ford Factory stands as a massive
rectangular structure that spans the entire block of Santa Fe Avenue and is
sandwiched between the cross streets of Violet and E. 7th Street.
Having been built in 1914, the structure remains to be 254,000 square feet is
open space and is five stories tall. The site is located in the Arts District
of Los Angeles, just right across from the most popular restaurants and
establishments in Los Angeles such as Bestia Los Angeles and Museum of Ice
Cream. The Arts district is surrounded by the Industrial District, Little
Tokyo, and Civic Center. Currently, the lifestyle in downtown has become upbeat,
cool, and contemporary; the area has attracted many entrepreneurs who both work
and live there. Within the near vicinity of Santa Fe and 7th are
markets such as Urban Radish, trendy coffee shops, top restaurants such as
Bestia Los Angeles, and gourmet bakeries.
Furthermore, The Southern
California Institute of Architecture, along with many entertainment
establishments are located there such as clubs, theaters, studios, and
galleries. These establishments further enhance the artistic presence in the
area and will better position Downtown to have an even more recognized
entertainment presence.

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In the 1906 map, even though the
surrounding properties in the area were commercial, it still featured a diverse
set of businesses which did not yet define the district. On E 7th
Street there was the Pacific Ornamental Decoration Co. A large square lot
existed, which was known as the City Play Ground. One block down along E 7th
were a number of storage businesses such as Clement Storage & Ware Ho Hay
and City Rubbish Barns. There were also a few factories such as the United
Casting Co., which manufactured diamonds, and Albersmaiers Bros Kitchen Furnace
Factory, which manufactured kitchen appliances.

Henry Ford had a dream, to build a mass-produced
vehicle. His grand vision came with many challenges, but that did not stop him.
He persisted and began by opening his first factory in Highland Park, Michigan
in 1910. In the Historical LA Times, Henry Ford saw Los Angeles as the most
attractive place to build the power plant due to a variety of clever reasons.
And when it came to scale, Los Angeles would make great sense to build it on an
economic perspective because the all-year stable weather meant that its
operations would remain fully efficient with no slowdowns to its production. It
is shocking how this site looks very similar to the original production
facility in Detroit. It really proves that Henry is the master of scalability
and keeping consistent with his practice – something very difficult replicate.
This reminds me of how if you eat a burger at your local McDonalds, it will
taste the same as if you were to eat it anywhere else in the world. Its that
commitment to consistency that remains key to American capitalism.

In 1914, this Downtown, Los Angeles Ford
factory had been completed to further fulfill the production of their Model T
vehicles. This brick structure stood as the second Ford factory west of the
Mississippi. Its distinctive design instantly made it among the most notable
structures in downtown. Afterwards, Ford unveiled the Model A, which kept on
being created until 1929. Later on, the factory had been utilized to produce aircrafts,
toys, and rubber. The structure’s grand interior pillars remain an unmistakable
design component. When they renovate the property, they will heavily utilize reused
components from the existing factory; its window casings and natural sunlight
windows will not be altered. Although the mini white water tower that sits atop
of the structure does not work anymore, will still remain as an iconic site.

According to the article which was published
in 1921, the Ford factory was a dominating structure within the vicinity. It
was originally built as an assembly plant, and it was shut down during World War
II. Afterwards, it then shifted to a thriving manufacturing plant. This can be
seen through by their targets which represented the maximum output done by each
employee. It was reported that they had no trouble meeting their targets.
Became so successful that they had planned to increase the volume of their
production output. An additional benefit of all-year round weather meant that
workers were happier and could increase the quality of their output, something
Ford heavily valued. Furthermore, they planned to shift their operations from
the Detroit plant to the Los Angeles plant. As mentioned, the Los Angeles plant
became Ford’s western headquarters, and Mr. Graves, Ford’s district manager,
planned to expand within the area and purchase more parcels of land as they
continued to ramp up production. He also mentioned that they purchased an
additional 5 acres of land near the Los Angeles plant in Alhambra Road. In the
Los Angeles plant, it had 200 employees and had planned to increase it to 300
employees which had been the threshold. After hitting that capacity, they would
open their next plant. Mr. Graves was very enthusiastic about the plant and
made it his dying mission to expand aggressively in Los Angeles and make it
surpass Detroit’s production output should be known as Ford’s most important

In 1923, the map reflects that the area
has significantly transformed into a placed focused on all parts pertaining to
the automotive industry. Across the street from the factory, the original Play
Ground Parcel from 1906 had been occupied by two Motor FRT. Depot properties, the
Auto REPG Conc. Fl., and a dedicated parking lot. Reflect in the maps how after the LA Times article, the factory shifted
from an assembly plant to a manufacturing plant. The blocks of Violet and
Mateo featured many properties that were dedicated to gas, oil, tiers, paint
shops, service, such as the Auto DEC Service Co. along E. 7th and
Wilson. Next to it on the blocks of E 7th and Mateo featured carpet businesses
such as Furne & Carpet W. Ho. and AUG & Carpet W. Ho. All of these
business activities occurred within four square blocks. It’s shocking how one
property became a catalyst and had such an influence on the types of
surrounding businesses that opened.

In the 1953 map, it showed how one of the
auto structures on the Play Ground Parcel doubled in size and changed its name
from the Auto REPG Conc. Fl. to the Truck REPG Conc. Fl. There also displayed
to be an even stronger auto presence since across the street from the factory
on Santa Fe and E 7th they built an additional Auto REPG site. Other
than that, no significant changes were made to the area. It is interesting how
very little has changed in terms from a street perspective, the width of the
streets remained the same, even though the amount of vehicles on the street has
increased dramatically.

In an LA Times article, it mentions that the
property will be occupied for 13 years with a 10-year option to extend. They
will be paying nearly $10 million in annual rent as they plan to fully operate there
in 2018. Large companies such as BuzzFeed expressed interest, but ultimately
Warner closed on the deal. This brings hope for an even brighter future for
Downtown. Furthermore, Hyperloop One, a groundbreaking new form transportation,
has also made plans for developing a 55,000 square foot campus near the Ford

            With respect to its past as The Ford
Factory, the new redevelopment project focuses on keeping the original
structural aspects intact since it is deemed as a historical property. The development
group has made large efforts to utilize sustainable techniques. The plans also
mentioned that they implemented a fire resistant industrial facility. Parkinson
and Bergstrom, a major Los Angeles firm, was in charge of the factory’s design. The installation of electrical lights on
Santa Fe Avenue and 7th Street marked the thriving business sector in the
downtown area. The Model T, Ford’s pivotal vehicle, had been in production in
this plant till 1927.

Today, the structure is still fully
intact with how he did in the past, but it has made significant improvements to
its interior and surrounding areas. With the top establishment surrounding the
site, The Ford Factory building in the area as a whole will continue seeming
even brighter future. With the vast amount of increasing popular establishments
and restaurants that are gaining traction through major millennial platforms
such as Instagram, this early 1900 décor with the mixed modern look has great
potential to change the landscape of the surrounding area and gain attention
from other neighborhoods and tourists visiting Los Angeles.























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