The San Fernando building is an Italian Renaissance Revival style building located on the SE corner of 4th and Main Streets. Built in 1907, it was commissioned by James B. Lankershim, who at the time was one of the largest landowners in California and owned much of the San Fernando Valley during the 19th century. The building was considered one of the finest office buildings in the city when it first opened. The building's design includes an elegant lobby with 22 foot ceilings and marble tiles, complimented by an exterior decorated with elaborate cornice work and spandrel panels with incised diamond motifs. Originally a six story structure, two additional stories were designed by R.B. Young and added in 1911.
The San Fernando building has a long and rich history in the Los Angeles. In its early years, the building was well known for housing the offices of the city's first cooperative telephone exchange, the California film exchange, and the Half Century Association, among others. At one point, it even included amenities such as a pool hall, café, and a Turkish bath in the basement.
The building received notoriety around 1910 when it was raided by police for reports of illegal gambling and other underground operations during its darker days. Today, the San Fernando is often used as a filming location, with scenes in Bull Durham, 500 Days of Summer, Fun with Dick and Jane and The Shooter among the notable films using the building as a location.
The building was redeveloped by Gilmore Associates and was reopened in 2000 as 70 loft-style apartments, as the first of three in the Old Bank District residential conversion project. Award-winning restaurants Pete's Café and Bar and Baco Mercat currently occupy the ground floor.