The word “goofy” is not generally the first to come to mind when describing a building, but for me it seems an entirely appropriate way to explain this ungainly monstrosity that was threatened for the southwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue in 1926.
The price tag for this unwieldy mess, which was given the equally silly name of the Hollywood Chateau, was to be more than $1,000,000 and was to contain 308 rooms divided into apartments ranging from one to five rooms with the top three floors divided into “studio” (i.e. 2 story) apartments. The responsible parties were Leonard L. Jones and Ewort Van Den Hoven. Little is known of Van Den Hoven, but Jones, a reputable apartment house/hotel designer, should have known better. Jones was the architect behind Hollywood’s landmark 1928 Castle Argyle Arms at 1919 North Argyle Avenue and its identical Hancock Park twin, the Hermoyne Apartment Hotel at 569 South Rossmore Avenue.
Construction of the supposedly fully funded Hollywood Chateau was scheduled to begin in January of 1926 with its only stumbling block being approval by the Los Angeles City Council for a variance to the city’s “height limit” law, which the building would have violated by 60 feet with one of its Medieval Times-esque spires. Until 1958, the City of Los Angeles had a law on the books that prevented any structure from exceeding in height the size of City Hall, which rose 452 feet above its Main Street base. So when you hear of a “height limit” or “limit height” structure, that is to what they are referring.
With the backing of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the City Council did indeed approve the variance so long as the extra space was used as a roof spire and not actual residential units. In spite of this rare exception, the Chateau Hollywood did not get past the blueprint stage and the Hollywood skyline dodged a big, bulky, way out of proportion bullet.