California Walnut Growers association building
Los Angeles, California

The 1921 California Walnut Growers Association (CWGA) building at 1745 E. 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles was rehabilitated for use as loft apartments. Chattel prepared a Historic Resource Assessment in 2012 that found the CWGA building eligible as a historical resource due to its association with the cooperative growers association during the height of the walnut industry in southern California from 1921-1957. While the building was not identified for its design by noted Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, it clearly reflected the specialty use with offices on the lower two floors, large daylight factory windows and sawtooth skylights on third floor where walnuts were packed, and smaller slit windows on the upper floors where packed walnuts were stored.

The adaptive reuse project completed in 2018 was initially proposed in early review for Historic Tax Credits, but initial comments received from state and federal reviewers were unfavorable, particularly due to the requirement for natural light and air under the City of Los Angeles Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, which meant that upper floor windows needed to be expanded. The final project reused existing steel sash windows with new glass as well as new aluminum sash windows installed in 12 locations on the principal, street-facing elevations. The project was reviewed under CEQA and found not to conform with the Secretary’s Standards, but also found to not cause material impairment to the identified historical resource. Given that the property was eligible for its historic association, rather than for architecture, additional flexibility was allowed in project review. Chattel was further engaged under mitigation measures contained in the Mitigated Negative Declaration to review design development and construction documents to ensure no material impairment would occur with construction.