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An old Lincoln Heights window shade factory becomes a hot property

Aug 24, 2017

Columbia Mills, Lincoln Heights | Katrina Alexy

LINCOLN HEIGHTS – An entertainment and advertising production company has paid  $20 million for a cluster of  factory and warehouse buildings dating back to 1885 that have been most recently used for filming, reports Urbanize L.A.

The approximately 2-acre site at Lacy Street and Avenue 26  has been operated for more than three decades as the Lacy Street Production Center, where numerous movies, TV programs and other shows have been shot.

There had been plans to convert the complex of brick buildings and sheds into a mix of loft-style housing, low-income residential units and commercial space. But that project, known as Columbia Mills, never came to fruition and the property was put up for sale.

Decades before it was used for filming, the same property had been home to Talbert-Whitmore Co, a maker of shade cloth and window shades, according to a city historic survey. Talbert-Whitmore was later renamed Columbia Mills. While it’s been decades since window shades  have been made here, a “Columbia MILLS”  sign painted on a brick wall still faces over Avenue 26 across from the Gold Line Station.

The compound, according to the city historic survey, is worthy of being designated as state and even national historic monument, serving as an “excellent example” of a 19th Century “daylight factory.”

What is a daylight factory? The survey explains:

“Prior to the widespread use of electricity, controlling and capitalizing on daylight was a necessary component of the design of manufacturing buildings. Daylight was brought into the building using a variety of methods, including expansive industrial sash windows, orientation of intensive hand work next to the exterior walls of the building, skylights, and specialized roof forms to bring light into the interior. This property is an excellent example of a daylight factory, with multiple daylight features including expansive industrial sash and sawtooth rooflines.”

The new owners, Buck Design, plan to continue to operate the 9-building property as a filming production center, according to Curbed L.A.

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