With its pastel colors and decorative friezes The Insurance Exchange Building stands in striking contrast to its neighbors on Long Beach’s Promenade and is immediately recognized as a historical gem. It was designed in 1924 by architect Harvey H Lochridge and originally known as the Middoughs’ Mens’ and Boys’ Shop, named after the Middough brothers who commissioned it. At its opening in 1925 the first two levels were used as retail space, a restaurant existed in the basement, and a gymnasium could be found on the rooftop.
The 8-story Beaux Arts building features decorative reliefs of sea serpents and tridents that allude to the ocean nearby, as well as playful scenes of children running and boating that reference the building’s original use. The name of the Middoughs’ Boys’ Shop can be seen carved into the stone façades facing both the Promenade and Broadway while the original painted commercial signs still flank the building’s brick exterior.
In 1930 Wayne H. Fisher bought the building and renamed it Insurance Exchange. The entrance and lobby underwent an Art Deco renovation, the elevators were updated, and electrical outlets were added, making it one of the most modern buildings in the city.
Over the years the building has had many tenants, from the Long Beach Municipal Court to Dave Snyder Jewelry. At one point during WWII the first two floors served as a mess hall for the Navy. The American boxer and world heavyweight champion Joe Louis was even known to hold boxing clinics on the roof, presumably in the former gymnasium.
Loft Developments, Inc. acquired the Insurance Exchange Building in 2000. Led by Dan Peterson, the company conceived and developed 12 contemporary lofts that replaced the former offices on the upper floors. The project was completed in 2005, with each loft measuring around 1,400 square feet and featuring birch hardwood floors, kitchens with walnut cabinets and Viking appliances, exposed brick walls, high ceilings with exposed concrete beams and large windows that let in plenty of natural light. There are only 2 units on floors 3 through 7, with one unit spanning the entirety of the 2nd floor. The final unit on the 8th floor – a penthouse – is 3 levels and was built out above the roofline where the former gym once stood.
Today the basement level is occupied by Harvelle’s, a cabaret-style nightclub known for its live jazz and weekly burlesque show. A local favorite, Congregation Ale House, is on the ground level serving craft beers and pub sandwiches.
Located in the center of Downtown Long Beach at 207 E Broadway, The Insurance Exchange Building has earned a Walk Score of 96, making it the ideal home base for those who love loft living and crave convenient access to shops, parks, restaurants and entertainment.
The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
For more information regarding available lofts in The Insurance Exchange and other Downtown buildings contact Will Hainlen of DOMA Properties at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or search for your home on our site.