Rendering of proposed buildings to replace the Garden of Allah, June 16, 1930
Rendering of proposed buildings to replace the Garden of Allah, June 16, 1930

Big Plans

The stock market crashed in late October 1929, wiping out millions of dollars in investments across the country and setting the stage for the Great Depression. The effects of the economic downturn were pervasive but not universal. Within weeks of the crash, William Hay sold the Garden of Alla to the Central Holding Corporation, a syndicate of Los Angeles capitalists. 

In 1930 Central Holding made improvements to the property. They built new villas, bringing the total to 38, and upfitted each one with kitchenettes and dinettes. The company also announced a massive rebuilding plan for the hotel. They would replace the main house and villas with a luxury hotel complex – a 300-room high-rise, a low-rise retail and residential building with rooftop restaurants and cafes and a theatre equipped for both screenings and live performances. The reopening was timed to the start of the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1932.

In August the company announced it had redecorated the interiors of the villas. It was silent about the rest of the plan, however. Other than the improvements to the villas and possibly some excavation in the parking lot, none of it was built. The hotel would remain configured more or less as it was until it was demolished.

The most significant, lasting change Central Holding made that year was a slight rebranding. Soon new signs appeared bearing the new name in a vaguely Arabic-looking font: The Garden of Allah and the Garden of Allah Villas. They added the “h” to Alla.

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