Longtime downtown denizen Atlantic Richfield Co., for example, recently agreed to merge with BP-Amoco, raising questions about what Arco will do with its 200,000 square feet of downtown office space.
The new batch of cultural and entertainment amenities will play a vital role in making downtown more attractive to businesses and building a larger residential community, according to urban planners.
"There is [now] a tremendous amount of vacancies. There is a tremendous deficit in pedestrian life," said architect Stefanos Polyzoides, whose firm crafted a downtown plan that promoted housing and a variety of activities. "Any significant mix of uses within the greater downtown is an extraordinarily good idea."
But previous efforts to build up downtown cultural attractions have met with limited results. The Los Angeles Music Center on Bunker Hill and the Los Angeles Theatre Center on Spring Street, for example, failed to spark additional development.