Saving Historic Sites with Adaptive Reuse

Balboa Theater, Balboa Blvd, Newport Beach (Courtesy Orange County Archives)

Hear some of Orange County’s greatest recent historical preservation success stories directly from Linda Sadeghi – who made them a reality – at the May 11, 2023 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, 7:30 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. “Adaptive Reuse” of historic buildings (repurposing them to make them functional for a new generation) is one of the most reliable means of ensuring their long-term survival, making this the perfect topic for National Preservation Month.

Linda Sadeghi is the owner/operator/designer of Little American Business (LAB), Inc. Some of her past projects she’ll discuss include The Anaheim Packing House (1919), The LAB (factory built 1955 in Costa Mesa), The Casino San Clemente (1937 dance hall), and Cottage Industries (housing small businesses within residential homes in Garden Grove, built 1914-1950). She also plans to discuss her forthcoming project: The Balboa Theater (1927).

Anaheim Packing House, 2014 (Courtesy Chris Jepsen)

A Pratt Institute of Brooklyn graduate, Linda is a self-described “artist in search of medium” whose career started in the fashion industry. After twenty years designing for apparel brands like Ocean Pacific and her own children’s clothing line, Itigraffiti, Linda and her former partner started both a family (three sons) and a family business with the creation of The LAB Anti-Mall in Costa Mesa, finding a new design medium in brick and mortar. The LAB became an iconic addition to Orange County – a youth driven haven/hangout for aspiring creatives as well as a community of budding entrepreneurs. “Our ongoing goal was to feature small, creative, unique businesses in a synergistic environment; almost as an incubator, full of support, comradery and creative energy,” says Linda. “It helped that we didn’t have a rule book for commercial real estate development and were just ourselves; artists.”

Linda and her team continue to rehab and repurpose commercial real estate across Orange County, breathing new life into significant sites that otherwise would have met with the bulldozer.

Casino Building, San Clemente (Courtesy Orange County Archives)
Anaheim Orange and Lemon Association packing house, 1928 (Courtesy USC Digital Library)

In addition to championing historical preservation, throughout her career Linda has also championed the female business owner and is proud of almost 40% of her tenants being female owned and/or managed. “I know firsthand the challenges of raising kids while building a business and keeping creativity alive – not easy!” Please join us for this program!