Visionary and renovator extraordinaire Andrew Meieran is responsible for giving a wake-up call to Los Angeles. “I fell madly in love with the Higgins building the day it won the award for ugliest, dirtiest building by the L.A. Times in 1995,” he says. “I saw a mixture of the future and the past. Inside there was so much detail worth saving. It is the ultimate in adaptive reuse.” Built in 1910 by copper baron Thomas Higgins, the building once housed Occidental Petroleum, Clarence Darrow's office, the Temperance Society and the city's first private power plant. But by 1995, the dilapidated, vacated shell was partially underwater (Meieran toured it by raft) and discarded like much of L.A.'s past. The building now bustles with restaurants, an art gallery, 135 lofts, and the Edison, an ultraswanky art deco “gin joint” so reminiscent of the Golden Age that every element of the décor — down to the preservation of the boiler room and original generators — gives guests an opportunity to walk back in time. On October 10 at 7 p.m., raise a glass at the Edison for the Higgins Building Centennial Celebration. It's what paved the way for L.A.'s historic downtown redevelopment. In other words, it's why you go downtown again. 108 W. 2nd St., dwntwn. (213) 613-0000, edisondowntown.com. —Heidi Dvorak
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.