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Provocative Newcomer on Melrose

June 30, 1985

If you're building a design center on Melrose Avenue and it's not big and blue, it had better be striking. The $5-million, 34,000-square-foot 8500 Melrose Avenue center is striking.

Opening today on the south side of Melrose Avenue between La Cienega Boulevard and West Knoll Drive, the two-story building has a stepped saw-toothed facade along Melrose and alternating bands of black granite and white marble.

A development of Olympic-Barrington Partnership, Los Angeles, the center was designed by Albert C. Martin & Associates, Los Angeles, as a "jewel box gateway to the design community." It was "conceived by its developers as a provocative and elegant easterly portal to the design community," according to Katharine Post Hall, managing developer for the new center.

"In order for a building to make a statement along Melrose Avenue, it must be unconventional; the context demands it," said Robert Murrin, project architect at the Martin firm. The building is punctuated by an extensively landscaped and skylighted central court that is open and highly visible along Melrose, he added.

The central court area is accented by a dramatic circular stair that is cantilevered off a single vertical column. A free-standing marble-clad elevator and integrally designed granite planters attract guests to the second level. A second-level balcony overlooks Melrose Avenue.

The center is planned to offer gallery and showroom spaces, Hall said. Street-level and underground parking is provided, in contrast to the limited parking available in many of the remaining storefront spaces on Melrose Avenue, she added.

"Melrose Avenue has become trendy and expensive in recent years, with posh restaurants taking much of the desirable space," Hall said. "We believe 8500 Melrose Avenue is a creative solution to the demand for space for design professionals."

Keller Construction Co. is the general contractor of the new design center. C. Thomas Ruppert & Associates, Beverly Hills, is the leasing agent.

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