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DOWNTOWN : Historic Theaters May Be Revitalized

July 04, 1993|LEE HARRIS

The closed and struggling historical theaters that line Broadway and adjacent streets could be resuscitated under a recently approved plan by the City Council.

The council voted to hire two Los Angeles consulting firms, Kosmont & Associates Inc. and Levin and Associates, and several subcontractors for $150,000 to develop a Downtown Entertainment District plan.

The consultants have been given six months to come up with a plan to rehabilitate the Downtown theaters. They will be aided by the Historic Core Task Force, a 65-member organization of public officials and residents.

"This is a good expenditure of money in an attempt to bring back life to this historical theater corridor," said 14th District Councilman Richard Alatorre, who represents the area. "These buildings represent some of the city's finest architectural beauty."

The consultants are to come up with a plan that would "look at ways to create a Downtown entertainment center that might include movie houses, nightclubs, performing arts and live art," said city planner Mary Padua.

The consultants will look at programs that will bring people to the area, Padua said. "But the big question mark is how to develop creative funding strategies," she said.

In short, Padua said, the study will determine "what will be on the menu, how much it will cost and where the money will come from to start."

The study also must "be very creative on how these wonderful spaces will be used in the 1990s. We are all struggling to find ways to make them work economically," said Ira Yellin, a developer and member of the Historic Core Task Force.

There are 17 buildings in the historical theaters corridors that the study will include. Although most are on Broadway, a few are on Hill and Spring streets, including the Los Angeles Theatre Center and the Pacific Stock Exchange. Nine of the buildings--including the Stock Exchange, the Roxie, Cameo and Arcade, Globe, Tower and Rialto theaters on Broadway--are closed.

Some, such as the Million Dollar Theatre at Broadway and Third Street, present Spanish-language films and on other occasions are used for religious services. Others, such as the Palace, State and Orpheum, present Spanish-language films on a full-time basis. The Mayan on Hill Street is a nightclub.

The council unanimously approved the plan June 22.

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