In May 1977, Morton La Kretz, a local real estate investor, purchased Crossroads of the World, saving it from the probable fate of demolition. At the time, the property was run down, the landscaping dead or overgrown, and the setting anything but idyllic. But Mr. La Kretz saw beyond all of that, instinctively understanding Crossroads' hidden glamour. He knew that it could be "an oasis in Hollywood" if only someone could give the property the attention, investment and hard work it deserved.
This project was perfectly suited for Mr. La Kretz, as he had a passion for historic preservation, architectural details and Los Angeles history. So, once the sale was complete, he spent the next several years restoring Crossroads of the World, closely following the architect's original plans.
He uncovered painted-over decorative tiles, scraped off years of offensive paint, and re-shingled the roofs. He enhanced the property by adding fountains, replacing asphalt walkways with decorative concrete, and reviving the landscaping. He upgraded the tenant list, leasing to high-quality book publishers, art galleries and entertainment companies. He also worked with the National Register of Historic Places to have Crossroads placed on this organization's prestigious list.
In the years that followed, glamour returned to Crossroads, with many movies and commercials filmed on the property, best-selling albums produced in its studios, and celebrities visiting its offices. Its importance as a beloved historic monument was recognized by the California Senate and the City of Los Angeles, and by those who lived, worked and visited in Hollywood.
Today, Mr. La Kretz continues as the active owner and manager of Crossroads of the World. His pride of ownership is evident throughout the complex, from new tile displays and recently discovered artwork to newly planted trees and flowers. Mr. La Kretz also manages a portfolio of commercial, industrial and residential properties in the Los Angeles area, and is the donor of UCLA's La Kretz Hall and Cal State L.A.'s La Kretz Hall of Sciences.Top