Bryson Reaume knows a little bit about urban frontiers. His company, City Constructors, has had a hand in the transformation of Downtown Los Angeles. Back when he landed in a loft at 7th and Figueroa, though, “It was a ghost town at night,” recalls Reaume. “All the shops were closed—I wanted to get a cup of coffee and nothing was open.” He immediately saw “a huge opportunity to make this a vibrant downtown core,” he says. And, as it turned out, just so happened to be working with some visionary developers who felt the same way, adapting some of the area’s historic buildings to fit 21st-century needs.
His work in the area began with the Douglas Building Lofts, just as Downtown’s revival was heating up. “It was a labor of love for the entire team, and something new for everybody,” he says, so there was a substantial learning curve for all involved. During the renovation, they were able to keep old windows and a mosaic tile corridor. The original elevator design was also brought back to life. “I’m very proud of what was created,” he says.
From there, he rolled in to more historic renovations, including tackling over a dozen projects at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, burnishing the gem. Among them was a gut renovation of the hotel’s Blossom Room, site of the first Academy Awards. “It had been destroyed,” says Reaume, who was asked to bring the space back to its former glory. “We peeled off paint, used old photos to recreate chandeliers and lanterns and found an old fountain.”
Reaume is heading on to a new frontier, taking his office to the Cornfields District north of Downtown. Recently rezoned in what he calls “a gift” from the city, the move primes the area for development. “We want to put together a team to get shareholders together to talk and have an open dialogue about the future,” he says—Reaume is on the cutting edge again.