The Los Altos Apartments has had its fair share of Hollywood glitz and glamour. Built in Los Angeles in 1925 as a co-op–and later used as a luxury apartment and hotel–Los Altos boasted a star-studded residential roster with the likes of Clara Bow, Bette Davis, Mae West, Douglas Fairbanks, and William Randolph Hearst living under its roof.
But the co-op running the Spanish Colonial-style building went bankrupt during the Great Depression and slowly fell into disrepair in the decades that followed. According to L.A. Weekly, the building was so unlivable there were large gaping holes from the fifth floor down to the lobby. It wasn't until 1993 that the Los Altos got a second chance at life. Local housing group Neighborhood Effort rescued the structure from demolition and obtained national historic site status for the building by tracking down its original parts and design details such as floor tiles, doorknobs, and colors.
Los Angeles-based architectural firm M2A was tapped to rehabilitate the 75-unit structure to its former glory. The firm restored or recreated Los Altos' original light fixtures, hardware, carpets, plaster work, awnings, and ornamental iron work.
Today, Los Altos remains one of Los Angeles' most popular landmarks–and the structure still attracts Hollywood types. Rising artists, screenwriters, and actors call Los Altos home. In 1999, Los Altos received several preservation design awards from the California Preservation Foundation and the Los Angeles Conservancy. The landmark also received a Historic Preservation Award of Excellence from the city of Los Angeles. The Los Altos Apartments is now listed on the National Historic Register.