YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Marylouise Oates

Charting the Players in Downtown Power Game


For those who keep track of such things, here's the way to figure out who is getting downtown power:

First, try to put these two phrases together--"friendly feeling" and "Hill Street" downtown. How about "a pleasant shopping trip on Broadway?"

Seem a little out of kilter? It won't by fall, or at least by next spring, with massive changes planned.

Second, mark down the names not just of the organizations doing the massive revitalizations that will allow such phrasing--but also of the people in those private and public organizations. Now--if you factor in the efforts and power of Community Redevelopment Chair Jim Woods and the long-term push of Councilman Gil Lindsay--you've got an idea about how such things work.

Three separate efforts--Project Restore (the restoration of civic buildings), the multimillion dollar redo of the Grand Central Market, and the newly formed Miracle on Broadway--are responsible for the renaissance of the east side of downtown (if it really ever had a good time to go back to). The opening of La Salsa at the Grand Central Market in July is the first restaurant of many that will come--while the market will still retain its ethnicity along with an upgraded product selection, we're told by those involved. Ira Yellin is the general partner and owner. He's also, along with Bruce Corwin and McDonald's John Lopez, responsible for Miracle on Broadway, which has just hired Estella Lopez to direct the efforts to revitalize the shopping thoroughfare.

Yellin also sits on the board of Project Restore, the private-public partnership now starting on the $7-million redo of City Hall. Its director is Kathy Moret, for many years the right hand to Councilman Lindsay. On the board: Central City Assn. President Chris Stewart; executive assistant to the mayor, Fran Savitch; Public Works Commission President Maureen Kindel; downtown attorney and power Richard Reardon; public-relations executive Hope Boonshaft-Lewis; TransAmerica-Occidental President William Simpson, and architect Albert C. Martin as chairman. An early step in redoing the Art Deco City Hall, Moret explained, will be the replacement of the benches in the Public Works chambers, similar to those in the City Council chambers, and that will be done with a $300,000 state grant.

City employees can join in the private-public partnership next month when they can give via payroll deductions to Project Restore.

Moret said that the big step, in all the projects, was to "make it a cohesive downtown." And, since everybody knows everybody else real well, that won't be hard to do.

KUDOS--To the W. M. Keck Foundation, which set the pace for the Five Acres' R.E.A.C.H. campaign by its donation of $250,000. The $3-million campaign is now more than half funded and, once completed, will allow Five Acres to go into its second century of service with new capabilities. Five Acres, the Boys' and Girls' Aid Society of Los Angeles, treats abused children from throughout Southern California.

TRADESPEOPLE POWER--In Los Angeles, famous people even turn out to celebrate the anniversary of a successful business. Well, if it's the House of Hermes, and it's 150 years old. That's why the guests included the now peripatetic Barbara and Marvin Davis, Henry and Jayne Berger, Ricky and Kathy Hilton, author Judith Kranz and spouse Stephen, George and Jolene Schlatter, Marc Nathanson, Shirlee Fonda, Tommy Gallagher and Suzanne Pleshette, and Gary Morton and Lucille Ball (they used to be constant companions to the Davises, but that role has been taken over by Aaron and Candy Spelling, who were not on hand that night).

It all happened at the Bev Hills home of Sammy and Altovise Davis. She speaks fluent French and since Hermes was represented by Jean-Louis Dumas-Hermes and Patrick Guerrand-Hermes, Altovise did the introductions bilingually. They know how to do such things in B. H.

Los Angeles Times Articles