The mid-century commercial architecture style called Googie was named for the 1949 Los Angeles coffee shop bearing the same name. Originated by Frank Lloyd Wright assistant John Lautner, the Googie style is iconic for its ultra-modern, space-age look. The commercial construction craze for cantilevered roofs and eccentric curves took off nationally from coffee shop roots on the L.A. corner of Crescent Heights and Sunset, spreading an aesthetic reflecting two huge phenomena of the 1950s: the automobile and the service industry that grew along with it.
Surviving Googie buildings evoke the past while looking to a former future. Beloved by many, their proximity can make the difference for a site selection client faced with a choice among candidate properties with no comparable “face”. One thing Googie buildings do is project — after all they seem to be rocketing into that imagined future — and having one nearby can easily be a bright spot for tenants, a distinction that serves that part of commerce that numbers alone can’t quite capture.
Let’s take a look around Los Angeles for opportunities around some of these iconic Googie properties:
- Norm’s — 470 North La Cienega Boulevard, West Hollywood: This legendary 24-hour restaurant Nearby listings at CommercialSearch include a range of modern office and retail options, offices topping out at five stories.
- Johnnie’s Coffee Shop — 6101 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles: A specimen of Googie architecture that shares coffee-shop identity with the original Googie building, Johnnie’s neighbors include class A office towers with flexible footprints.
- Mel’s Diner — 14846 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks — This San Fernando Valley mainstay eatery sports a Googie neighbor in nearby Encino, the car wash at 17348 Ventura Blvd. Spires ahoy!
- Chip’s — 11908 Hawthorne Blvd., Hawthorne — 4KSF of retail offering accompanies Chip’s on Hawthorne.
- Driftwood Dairy — 10724 Lower Asuza Rd., El Monte – A wide range of retail radiates from the corner of El Monte and Lower Asuza, from barber shops to land business opportunities in Temple City.