By Troy
#4925651
I'd be willing to bet you won't get far with any inquiries for a quick visit. The building has been deemed as unsafe by the city - at least until the refurbishment occurs. Even scouting as a filming location has been ruled out. The ceiling is still on the verge of collapse, it's a bit of a nightmare in there from what I understand.

Last I saw, Brooks + Scarpa had submitted a proposal and budget to the city, but that's the last I've seen progress on the new arts center. Development and permits for alterations to buildings in Skid Row (in which Ol' 23 resides) have sort of been a bit of an issue in Los Angeles as of late. Mixed with the fact that the building is a historical landmark, which complicates any construction or alteration, it's probably a super slow going process.
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By Kingpin
Moderator
#4925659
Thanks for the info. Is this the supposed artist that lived and claimed to own the building?
That's the one.
Is there a story here? I had heard about the community center conversion, though I wasn't sure how much if any renovation has actually happened for it, or if it was still just a proposal.
Well, beyond the fact he was likely squatting there, albeit a more benevolent squatter than many, there isn't much of a story to it. Whether the community centre plan pans out depends on the city and it's williness to invest the cash, though as the article I'd linked to mentioned, they've commisshed an architectural firm to come up with designs for the centre.

Be careful when you do visit it in person, as it's slap-bang near the middle of L.A.'s skid row.
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By JWils23
Supporting Member
#4925705
I'd be willing to bet you won't get far with any inquiries for a quick visit. The building has been deemed as unsafe by the city - at least until the refurbishment occurs. Even scouting as a filming location has been ruled out. The ceiling is still on the verge of collapse, it's a bit of a nightmare in there from what I understand.
I think this building should be condemned. There’s serious metal fatigue in all the load-bearing members, the wiring is substandard, it’s completely inadequate for our power needs, and the neighborhood is like a demilitarized zone.
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By Doctor Venkman
#4925763
Having tried myself several years ago to get in for a quick look, the other advice provided here it's very likely to be accurate. You might get lucky, but it's almost a certainty that you're not getting in.

And Kingpin's advice about the area is accurate too. It's not a good area of town at all. I snapped a couple pics of the exterior from the car and left.
By Couture
#4926320
Follow up time.

I didn't end up having any luck getting hold of anyone that could help me, but I decided to drive by yesterday and see the building anyway since I was in LA, and to my luck, there were actually contractors there working on it. The front door was open but blocked by a chain linked fence, so I was able to see in partially (they had painters lights strung up around the main floor to light it up). I waited around a while for someone to come down from scaffolding to ask them about coming in. He wouldn't let me, but gave me the number of someone handling the restoration project and told me to check with her. Through some back and forth calls with her, she checked with the foreman but he unfortunately couldn't grant me access due to liability. By the time I was about to leave though they had opened up the back door which had a much better view of the space, and they let me stand in the doorway to snap a few quick pics and stick my head in. It still looks more or less how it was, albeit now missing the uniform closets. They told me they're in the process of catologing and removing things from the building prior to the actual rennovation starting (a long process because it's a landmark building), and they were hauling out junk to throw away. So, not a complete waste and I was happy to be able to see the space, even if I couldn't actually enter and photograph it. I'm on mobile and away from home but I'll share what photos I took later on next week when I'm back home.

Also, the immediate neighborhood around the firehouse really wasn't that bad. Maybe I've just lived in some dodgy cities and been exposed to a lot already, but it was completely fine apart from a few sketchy characters walking around who were otherwise harmless. I wouldn't go at night, but I didn't feel unsafe at all during the day, and the local kids running around the sidewalks didn't seem to either.
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By Kingpin
Moderator
#4926332
I'm glad you got a chance to take a quick look inside, that was a fortunate turn of events, and a nice bit of proof the restoration work is progressing, albeit slowly. Looking forward to seeing thost photos of yours. :)
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By Borzou
#4926370
I hope they didn't decide to throw out the uniform closets. There were a ton of them and very well built.

Did they remove the green tiles or are they still there?
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By Kingpin
Moderator
#4926376
Oh man... how awesome would it have been to be there the day they threw out the uniform closets? Even to just be able to grab the door of one!
I hope they didn't decide to throw out the uniform closets. There were a ton of them and very well built.
Couture mentioned they were cateloguing and removing items (including the lockers), which suggests they've been removed for conservation and restoration, rather than binned... It's a strong possibility that while they don't appear in the 3D render that popped up last October, that the lockers will be put back when the refurbishment is finished.

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Did they remove the green tiles or are they still there?
They'll probably have to (carefully) remove them either way to address the the 59 years of neglect (a large section of tilework above the row of lockers near the front set of doors appears to have fallen off):

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By Couture
#4926392
When I spoke to the contractors, they made it sound like the cataloging and removal process was very slow moving and tedious considering the buildings historical status, so I wasn't given the impression that they'd simply trash the closets. That being said, I have no idea what they actually did with them. What I did see them throwing away simply looked like junk or old rotten materials. No key fixtures or anything, but again, I was only there for a short time and can't say for sure what their plan is.

As for the tiles, they still looked intact from what I saw (and they're also featured in the renderings of the renovation), so hopefully they're safe. I noticed a large-ish patch missing on the wall behind the staircase that they're clearly working around, so I'm not sure what they're doing around there. It's clearly visible in one of the photos I snapped, so maybe someone else will have a better idea what they might actually be doing in that spot when I'm able to post my photos next week.

Another thing that surprised me about the space was that it wasn't as large as I expected. It wasn't exactly small, but it did come across more cavernous on film and in photographs. I expected a bigger difference between it and the interior of H&L 8 which I was already familiar with. Maybe I would have had a different impression if I'd been able to actually walk through it.

I'll also be visiting ILM in San Francisco on Friday, so I'm looking forward to finally seeing their screen used trap, vigo painting, and slimer and scoleri brothers puppets up close.
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By Couture
#4927105
Apologies for the big delay on the photos, but I finally got a chance to upload them. I'll take you through the visit as I experienced it, included some of my observations.

When I first arrived I came by the rear side of the firehouse which was closed up. It's not really visible in the photo, but the sidewalk is crammed with street vendor tables that largely blocked the rear door.

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The front appeared more or less as it has for the last few years with the phoenix street art covering the front door plywood. Some of the boarding was removed from the upper windows to (I assume) let some more light in for the work going on there.

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Oh my god...

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I couldn't believe my luck when I came around the front and realized that the front door was open and work was being done there. Seems that there's no power in the building, or at least the lights were removed since it was only illuminated by strung up painters lights and natural light from the front door. I had a little more visibility than the photo lets on, but not much.

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Exposed to the interior which shows a bit more...

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I thought that was the best view that I was going to get, but as I was about to leave the contractors opened up the rear doors which gave me a great view into the space, and I was able to take a couple quick shots from the sidewalk and gawk for a moment. Note the missing uniform closets and the patch of missing wall tiles to the right of the staircase. It looks like the original front door is still intact and open, but I can't make it out 100% to be sure.

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It was a pretty successful visit, all things considered. I would have loved to actually have been able to go inside, but I felt really fortunate to just be able to see the interior. Hopefully things will continue to move forward on the renovation and it will be open to the public in a few years, even if it doesn't look like its original state.

And since I was already in the neighborhood, after leaving the firehouse I took one more quick pilgrimage to the Biltmore hotel lobby where slimer was captured. I was pretty rushed here since the valet was almost full and let me leave my car with him for just a second so I could run in, but it was cool to see.

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I also had the pleasure of visiting ILM San Francisco the following week which had a number of props and models on display from Ghostbusters 2. I won't keep cluttering up my post with those, but here's a link to an imgur album of the shots I was able to take:
https://imgur.com/a/Nury0Dp

I hope you find all of this as interesting as I did!
Glenn Frederick, Kingpin, jpetrutis81 and 1 others liked this
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By Borzou
#4927151
Looks like the lockers are all gone. Thank you for posting. Glad to see they are preserving the tile

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