SOURCE: The Valencia Group

January 15, 2008 11:22 ET

The Valencia Group Converts Historic Union Bank Into The Union Restaurant & Lounge

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - January 15, 2008) - The Valencia Group, a Los Angeles-based restaurant management group, is converting the ground floor of Downtown Los Angeles' historic Union Bank Building into The Union Restaurant & Lounge, which they plan to open in spring/summer 2008.

The Union Restaurant & Lounge will be a fine dining restaurant and lounge that features live entertainment and signature cocktails. Located at 760 Hill Street, The Union Restaurant & Lounge is part of a conversion of the entire Union Bank Building, with the upper floors being transformed into The Union Lofts; 91 loft apartments. The building's sophisticated, elegant 1920s Art Deco details will be maintained in the restaurant, with the below-ground bank vault being converted into a lounge. There will also be above-ground lounge spaces and event rooms. With more than 10,000 square feet of space, The Union can accommodate more than 200 seated guests in the restaurant plus patio seating.

"The Union Bank Building possesses such grand beauty and interesting features that we knew it would make a great restaurant and lounge, and we're committed to preserving historically significant elements of the building," said John Valencia, Senior Partner of The Valencia Group, which is specializing in the revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles. Valencia has been working closely with a former Union Bank employee to gather old photos of the bank that will be incorporated into The Union's décor.

Valencia, who has more than 18 years of experience in hospitality and customer service, heads The Valencia Group. He shares management and strategic planning with Managing Partner David Valencia. Creating the menu and leading the kitchen staff for The Union is Master Chef Jeffrey Nimer, who has worked at top restaurants, including Yuca, the Blue Door and Mark's Place in Miami, and he opened Lavande at Loews in Santa Monica. Nimer will also bring his experience preparing eclectic dishes for entertainment industry mogul David Geffen's private parties to preparing special event menus. Bar Manager Andrew "the Alchemist" Willett will create a bar menu filled with signature cocktails. A working bartender, bar chef and bar consultant, Willett holds a culinary degree from Kitchen Academy in Hollywood, Calif. and specializes in the use of fresh juices and custom-made ingredients. He is a scholar of the history and forms of mixed drinks and the emerging trends in quality bartending.

"Our goal is to make every visit to The Union Restaurant & Lounge memorable and unique," says John Valencia. "We already have some events booked for the coming year and we're not even opened yet. I think people are interested in what we're doing because it reflects a return to Downtown's great dining with exciting, live entertainment. It's a complete experience."

For more information on The Valencia Group, visit or to inquire about investment opportunities, contact John Valencia at

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