Killefer Flammang Architects

Accomplishments: Designed three buildings in the Old Bank
District, Pegasus (formerly General Petroleum), Pacific Electric Lofts, Gas Company Lofts, Mercantile Arcade
Quote: 'Go to any city in the world and people will be living upstairs with shops downstairs. People don't need to drive to get out. It's the new wave of the city and it's happening all over town,' said Wade Killefer. Killefer is pictured with his partner Barbara Flammang.

Adaptive reuse is Wade Killefer's specialty.

One of the early pioneers in the residential renaissance of downtown, Killefer Flammang Architects established its presence while partnering with developer Tom Gilmore in 1998. The firm designed the first loft apartments in the Old Bank District and they sparked a wave of interest in the possibility for a livable downtown quarter.

The development of residences in downtown was eased after the revision of the city's Adaptive Reuse Ordinance in 1999.

Killefer assisted with the re-writing of the ordinance, which resulted in a reduction of costs and expedited the approval process for office-to-residential conversions by amending fire and parking laws.

Since then, the firm has designed one-fourth of the 20,000 residential units built, planned or under construction downtown. Current projects include 1010 Wilshire, the Chapman Building, the Roosevelt Building and the Equitable Building in Hollywood, which are hitting the market this summer.

"Go to any city in the world and people will be living upstairs with shops downstairs. People don't need to drive to get out. It's the new wave of the city and it's happening all over town," said Killefer, who founded the firm in 1975 and was joined by partner Barbara Flammang in 1980.

The $21 million Roosevelt Building, declared a historic landmark in 1988, was converted into a mixed-use project, with 220 condominium lofts and luxury amenities such as an outdoor theater, spa and rooftop pool. It all sits above a Metro Red Line Station.

Providing affordable housing while preserving the city's landmark buildings has been an important mission for the firm.

It all began in the early 1990s with the restoration of dilapidated buildings on Skid Row into single-room occupancy welfare hotels.

Later on, the firm designed one of the first adaptive reuse buildings to offer low-income housing for seniors, the 186-unit Crescent Arms in downtown.

Along the way, Killefer has established his firm's position as an authority in the business of conservation and modernization.

The firm has earned its share of awards. The Los Angeles Conservancy presented it with the Preservations Award for its adaptive reuse design of the Pacific Electric Building.

In 2004, the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles Chapter named the firm "City Rebuilder of the Year."

"Killefer has an impressive inventory of buildings that they've redone. They've changed the makeup of downtown forever," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who has witnessed the transformations in her district. "In the 1970s to 90s, besides employees, it was like a ghost town here. Now, their work has revived buildings that were empty above street level, which revives the streets that they're located."

In response to the increasing demand for new housing, the firm's most recent projects focus on rentals and smaller units for single buyers.

Killefer envisions the future landscape of downtown as a neighborhood where the ground floor furnish economic growth and the people above serve as built-in clientele. He credits the adaptive reuse ordinance with making the projects possible.

"The reuse ordinance knocked 30 percent off costs," Killefer has said.

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