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The “New Girl” Apartment Building

Apr 17th, 2012 | By | Category: TV Locations

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My good friend/fellow stalker Lavonna has been begging me to track down locations from New Girl for a good three months now, but because I had never seen an episode of the series I was unable to do so.  Until last Monday evening, that is, when the Grim Cheaper and I finally sat down and started watching it from the beginning.  Thank you, Hulu!  I have to admit that I did not have very high hopes for the show as, for whatever reason, I am not that big of a fan of actress Zooey Deschanel (whose mom played Eileen Hayward on fave series Twin Peaks, but I digress).  I ended up LOVING it, though, and both the GC and I are now absolutely hooked!  After watching the first few episodes, I immediately started doing research on the warehouse-style loft apartment building where the New Girl gang lives (Lavonna’s most coveted locale from the series) and thankfully, Christine, over at fave website OnLocationVacations, had posted the address several times on her Daily Filming Locations page.  So I dragged the GC right on out to the Arts District in Downtown L.A. this past Saturday afternoon to do some stalking of the place.  (On a side-note, Mike, from MovieShotsLA, just taught me how to process my photographs using the soon-to-be defunct Picnik editing program, so I have been having a little fun with them today.  Don’t mind me.  Smile)

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I had never before visited – or even heard of – the “Arts District” (or “Artists District” as it is sometimes referred to) until this past Saturday, but according to the Los Angeles Downtown Arts District website, the area is the site of an average of 900 movie shoots per year!  Um, yes please – sign me up!  It is basically a stalker’s heaven – and one of the coolest spots that I have been to in all of my stalking travels.  The District became a haven for the artistically-inclined in 1976 thanks to the many affordable studio-type spaces available in the countless then-abandoned buildings and warehouses located there.  Artists gradually began to take over the many spacious lofts, turning them into art studios and illegal living spaces (the area was not yet zoned as residential).  In the 1980s, the Artists-In-Residence ordinance was passed which allowed lessees to use their flats as live/work spaces and, as a result, even more artisans flocked to the area.  Today, the Arts District is a flourishing mecca of artists and hipsters and boasts fabulous brick buildings, sidewalk cafes and more galleries than you can shake a stick at.  While there, not only did I feel like I had been transported back to my beloved Manhattan, but we ended up falling bass-ackwards into one of my most sought-after filming locations ever!  But that is another story for another post.

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In real life, the property where the New Girl gang lives is known as the Binford Building and it was originally constructed in 1906, but was not converted into a residential structure until the mid-1980s.  The 36-unit domicile was the brainchild of real estate developer Michael Kamin, owner of the Mika Company, who, in a 1986 Los Angeles Times article said, “We wanted to make the building a statement and an art piece  — something that says this is an exciting place to live, something to keep the focus on this street.”   I would say he succeeded – in spades!  The structure is definitely unique and the most eye-catching on the entire block.

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In New Girl, the Binford Building is where Jess (Zooey Deschanel), Nick (Jake M. Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield), and Winston (Lamorne Morris) live.  The exterior of the structure is shown weekly on the series.

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The building’s main entrance has also popped up from time to time.

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That entrance is shown above.

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As you can see, the Binford’s real life directory and intercom are even visible on the show.  Love it!

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The interior of the gang’s apartment is just a set, though, located at Fox Studios where (I am fairly certain) the series is lensed.  You can check out some photographs of the interior of an actual Binford Building unit here.  As you can see, it does not look anything like the New Girl loft.  I am absolutely IN LOVE with the group’s sprawling, FOUR-bedroom, industrial, brick-walled loft, by the way.  The GC and I also live in a loft-style apartment that I ADORE, but it is 750-square feet, has no actual bedrooms and only ONE teeny-tiny closet!  Yes, ladies, I have to share a closet with my husband – GASP!  The GC recently commented that he has noticed his side of the closet getting gradually smaller over the years.  Ha!  And here I thought I was being all sly.  Winking smile So yes, I have been known to drool copiously while watching New Girl.  I definitely have apartment envy!

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I could do without their public-style bathroom, though, which is an aspect of the show that I still do not entirely understand.

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According to a message board on the Animation Nation website, the premiere episode of the cartoon Family Dog (which was part of Steven Spielberg’s anthology series Amazing Stories) was created by animator Brad Bird in one of the Binford Building lofts.  The family in the series was even named “The Binfords” in honor of the property.  Traction Avenue, the street where the Binford is located, was also mentioned (and briefly seen on a freeway sign) in Bird’s 2004 hit, The Incredibles.

Binford Lofts–the “New Girl” Apartment Building

You can watch a video about the Binford Building lofts by clicking above.

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Big THANK YOU to fellow stalker Lavonna for asking me to find this location (and for turning me on to New Girl) and to Christine, from OnLocationVacations, for tracking it down!  Smile

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: The Binford Building, aka the New Girl apartment building, is located at 837 Traction Avenue in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles.

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18 comments

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  1. Alexis says:

    The Binford Building was also featured in the tv series Angel, it was the location of Lila’s loft first seen in season two. Wicked spot!

  2. David says:

    Awesome blog, and thanks for tracking down the loft. Do you know if this loft is also where they film the roof scenes? The roof scenes have a perfect view of DTLA, but it seems like the Arts District would be too close to get those shots.

  3. jo balak says:

    we also live in a downtown loft which we love! Try the new restaurant Factory Kitchen—–Italian.
    Love finding film locations! Especially scary ones!

  4. chris says:

    I’ve also just seen the building as the home of Lilah Morgan; a lawyer for the evil law firm Wolfram & Hart in Angel. Season 2 episode 4. I knew where I’d seen it right away.

  5. Rick says:

    I would like to know the location of the “Mystery Woman” bookstore in Kellie Martin’s series, which I’ve also seen in a couple of other things. Thanks.

  6. Dave says:

    Awesome idea for a blog. I believe (I’m almost 100% sure about this) that this is also the building used for the offices from the soon to be re-cancelled Breaking In as well.

  7. A. Location Lover says:

    I came to your site today specifically to check and see if you had found this location yet! How funny that you just posted it today. If you hadn’t found it yet I was going to tell you where it was. New Girl happens to be one of my favorite shows, and that Binford Building is directly next to a photography studio I used to work at. I used to park my car in Schmidt’s parking space everyday! It is a fantastic neighborhood, and I miss so. Oh how they love to pass out parking tickets on Traction Ave. I have a friend that is still in the neighborhood and he says they shoot there all the time, and the crew is NOT so nice. At least they make a really funny show. Cheers!
    Oh and P.S.-I just spotted the neighborhood and the exterior in a shot of the Binford Building in the first few seconds of Tupac’s video To Live and Die In LA from 1995.

  8. Nat says:

    Cute outfit! and I love that show AND the loft!

  9. Justin says:

    Love Zooey Deschanel! She seems to do a lot of projects that film around downtown LA. Now I’d love it if you found the house from the new NBC show Bent where Amanda Peet’s character lives, supposedly in Venice.

  10. Susie says:

    Loved the pictures!

  11. I just started watching this show. LOVE IT. And thanks!

  12. lavonna says:

    So cool. Thanks for stalking this….now find the house Jess lived in with her boyfriend at beginning of series. :) Melissa loves Jess (Zoey’s) clothes on this series! LOVE IT!!! Will be visiting this location on my next trip!


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  1. [...] The O.C. y Sensación de vivir no daban la impresión de estar rodadas en una ciudad específica, ni siquiera una tan dispersa como L.A, sino en un “richistán” genérico. Melrose Place era todo lo urbana que Aaron Spelling podría llegar a ser. Por raro que sea, una serie que sí retrata bien la zona es Curb your enthusiasm, y eso que su Los Ángeles es uno muy específico (de mediana edad, con dinero y conexiones en la industria del espectáculo, mayoritariamente judío) y que su autor es el mayor expat de Nueva York que se pueda imaginar. En su Los Ángeles de ocio indefinido es normal que alguien cene en un restaurante y después coja el coche para tomar el postre en otro, para ver dos escenas, como hacen Larry y Cheryl en un capítulo. The New Girl sería a Los Ángeles lo que Friends a Nueva York: la ciudad (idealizada y sitcomizada, claro) se intuye más allá de la puerta del loft. Por si alguien quiere hacerse un peregrinaje, el exterior del apartamento de Jess y los demás es el Binford Building en el gentrificado Arts District del Downtown LA. [...]

  2. [...] too much for my tiny Harry Potter room on the Upper East Side, I also took a liking to the spacious loft where Jess, Schmidt, Winston and Nick reside. There’s no snowfall in LA, so Jess can dress [...]

  3. [...] Luckily, I’ve been spending a lot of time in downtown LA with a friend who lives there. I am almost certain the “New Girl” warehouse is filmed in that part of the city. Am I right?! According to this website, I AM!!!!! [...]

  4. [...] past Saturday, after stalking the New Girl apartment building, which I blogged about on Monday, the Grim Cheaper and I decided to grab a bite to eat at one of the many Arts District (my new [...]

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