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Broadway Effort Nets Rehab Commitment from Owner of Los Angeles and Palace Theatres

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, October 27, 2009, at 01:52PM
Broadway Buildings Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Buildings at 621, 629 and 635 S. Broadway would be torn down as part of a project to build a new City-owned parking garage. The structure would serve offices, retail and the historic theatres.

A new City-owned parking garage on Broadway may be just the spur needed to bring life back into the historic Los Angeles and Palace theatres.

Ezat Delijani, head of the family investment firm that owns four Broadway theatres, on Friday pledged to restore the two if the City proceeds with plans to build a garage between 6th and 7th. The Bringing Back Broadway project is asking the City to approve the $23.5 million purchase of five parcels on Broadway and Hill.

The project, which would require another $2 million in tenant relocation and $31 million in pre-development and construction costs, would result in several hundred new spaces for uses along Broadway.

While Broadway has a number of parking garages, a recent study showed that these structures are near 100% occupancy during the day. Many close at night, and several structures have recently made exclusive arrangements with residential properties.

In a letter delivered at the Bringing Back Broadway Trustees meeting, Delijani promised to "restore and rehabilitate" the Palace and Los Angeles, including installing all infrastructure necessary to make the venues "accommodating for regular public use."

The theatre commitment is a big win for the Bringing Back Broadway effort, headed up by Councilman Jose Huizar's office. "Between them moving forward with the parking garage and the streetcar getting adding to the Long Range Transportation Plan, there's some great movement," said Russell Brown, Executive Director of the Historic Downtown BID and a Broadway Trustee. "That's especially true with the theatre improvements."

Brown said that he has spoken with the heads of business improvement districts in Pasadena, Culver City and Santa Monica. In each case, he heard the same thing. "City-owned community parking was the key as the first foundation to revitalizing the district," he said.

The City and Delijani would develop "mutually acceptable timelines" to make sure that the rehabs would be completed as the parking became operational.

First, the City needs to purchase the five parcels, located at 621, 629 and 635 S. Broadway and 628 and 630 S. Hill. The consolidated site would sit adjacent to the Los Angeles, at the end of St. Vincent's Court.

In May of last year, Council budgeted the bond funds necessary for the purchase. A motion filed last Wednesday (CF 08-0533-S1) asks that $31.2 million be allocated for purchase, relocation and pre-development.

The parking garage would contain retail on the ground floor, loading facilities for the retail and the theatre, and would be build with the necessary foundations to support potential future development above.

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