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LOS ANGELES — A downtown Los Angeles historic mixed-use building most famous for having one of graffiti artist Banksy’s murals on its exterior is up for auction.
Hilco Real Estate is auctioning the so-called Sparkle Factory building in the heart of the Fashion District. The deadline for bids is Thursday.
The seven-story mid-rise building at 908 – 910 South Broadway, built in 1914, has an authenticated Banksy mural, "Girl on Swing," on its exterior that by itself could fetch tens of millions of dollars. It’s Los Angeles’ only freestanding Banksy mural.
"This sale presents an unprecedented opportunity to own a treasured Banksy mural, a unique piece of Hollywood history and an icon of Los Angeles culture contained within a beautifully restored art nouveau landmark," said Jeff Azuse, senior vice president of Hilco Real Estate, in a news release.
Banksy, a pseudonym for an anonymous English artist, is one of the most famous artists of this generation.
Banksy is known for his guerilla-style anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment artwork, which is spray painted, without permission, usually on the facade of buildings.
His authenticated artwork is sold worldwide at auctions and fetches millions of dollars.
In 2010, it is believed Banksy painted the mural on the side of the Sparkle Factory building, without the owners’ consent, when he was in Los Angeles for a screening of the Oscar-nominated "Exit Through the Gift Shop" documentary about him and his work.
The black-and-white mural, measuring 12 feet by 33 feet, shows an image of a young girl on a swing underneath the words PARKING, with the ING whitewashed.
Art critics believe the work of art served as social commentary for the lack of park spaces for children to play in downtown urban environments.
Sparkle Factory building owners Tarina Tarantino and Alfonso Campos purchased the building for $4 million in 2007.
Over the years, the husband and wife couple spent a couple million dollars renovating the building, Hilco officials said.
However, financial challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic prompted the owners to file for bankruptcy and auction off the building.
A Hilco spokesperson said there isn’t a minimum selling price for the building, and the auction itself will ultimately set the pricing.
"Nothing like this, a world-famous mural attached to a building that has its own rich history, has been sold before," the Hilco spokesman said to Spectrum News. "There really isn’t a comparable out there. It’s going to be up to the marketplace to determine the final price."
The Hilco spokesman added that the current owners of the building were initially shocked to see that Banksy had painted the mural and had worked very hard to preserve it for the public. The mural has been targeted several times for vandalism, he said.
"The owners sincerely hope that the next owner will continue to act as a steward of the mural, which is LA’s only freestanding Banksy mural and actually one of the handful left in its original location in the United States," he said, adding that many of Banksy’s murals have been cut or taken down and now reside in private collections or museums.