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LITTLE TOKYO : CRA OKs Loan for Museum Expansion

February 14, 1993|IRIS YOKOI

The Japanese American National Museum has received a $500,000 loan from the Community Redevelopment Agency to expand the museum.

Pending City Council approval, the museum will use the loan to pay for design drawings and other pre-development work on the expansion, which will add 65,000 square feet to the 35,000-square-foot facility at 1st Street and Central Avenue.

The museum recognizes the cultural, social and historical contributions made by Japanese-Americans and chronicles their experiences in the United States. The added space will allow the museum to increase its collection of Japanese-American historical materials, expand its public education programs and provide a resource center with a research library.

The museum opened in May in the former Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, which is part of the Little Tokyo Historic District. The CRA provided a $1-million grant and $750,000 in state money to help fund the $6-million building rehabilitation, which included restoration of the karahafu roof fashioned after a temple in Kyoto, Japan.

The addition will be built on top of an underground parking structure that will be part of the proposed 1st Street North Plaza, a mixed-use project with two office towers, a 425-room hotel, 300 apartments, a child-care center and shops.

Work on the museum expansion is scheduled to begin in two years, after the 1st Street North parking structure is completed.

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