El Cortez is a landmark hotel in San Diego, California. Built from 1926 to 1927, the El Cortez was the tallest building in San Diego when it opened. It sits atop a hill at the north end of Downtown San Diego, where it dominated the city skyline for many years. From its opening in 1927 through the 1950s, it was the most glamorous apartment-hotel in San Diego. The large "El Cortez" sign, which is illuminated at night, was added in 1937 and could be seen for miles. In the 1950s, the world's first outside glass elevator was built at the El Cortez. During the late 1960s and 1970s, the El Cortez fell on harder times. The El Cortez closed as a hotel in 1978 when it was purchased by evangelist Morris Cerullo to serve as an evangelism school. Cerullo sold the property in 1981, and the El Cortez was threatened with demolition until the San Diego Historic Site Board designated it as a historic site in 1990. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Many of the original elements remain in place, though substantial interior modifications have been made. The building is the 31st tallest building in San Diego, based on its height of 310 ft (94 m).