The courtyard of the renovated Ford Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. (Killefer Flammang Architects )
A skid row hotel notorious for being one of the worst drug-trafficking locales in Los Angeles has been transformed through a $28-million makeover into housing for low-income residents.
SRO Housing Corp. bought the Ford Hotel in 2008 and renovated it. It now contains 150 studio units with kitchenettes and full bathrooms — an upgrade from the communal restrooms of the past.
Residents have access to computers, a television lounge and a private tiled courtyard
The Ford was built in 1925 as a six-story residence hotel with 295 units. As the neighborhood deteriorated in the mid-20th century, the Ford grew into one of the most dangerous housing complexes in the city.
In 2004, The Times reported that police had taken 111 crime reports there during the previous 19 months and made 21 arrests for offenses such as drug sales, domestic violence, shoplifting, robbery and murder. They removed four bodies.
The badly deteriorated structure at 1002 E. 7th St. had to be totally gutted during the renovation and even required replacement of its rotted support columns, said architect Wade Killefer of Killefer Flammang Architects, the Santa Monica firm that redesigned the Ford.
Hotel occupants include formerly homeless people suffering from mental illness and low-income residents.
The renovation was funded by grants from the county Department of Mental Health, Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency and tax credits, Joseph Corcoran of SRO Housing said.
Suspect in homeless case charged in Oct. 25 stabbing deaths
Demolition of Glendale hotel begins to make way for Nordstrom
Luxury extended-stay hotel coming to Beverly Hills