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Urban Outfitters to open in Rialto Theatre, restore marquee

By Hayley Fox
Published: Friday, May 03, 2013, at 10:38AM
Flickr via Hana Selly

Urban Outfitters will open inside the Rialto Theatre on Broadway.

Urban Outfitters is making the move to downtown L.A., and plans to fill Broadway's Rialto Theatre with two stories of its hip clothes, shoes, housewares and knick-knacks.

“Urban Outfitters understands the market and knows where Broadway is going, and I thank them for planting their flag and saying they want to be part of Bringing Back Broadway," said area Councilman José Huizar in a statement. "We’re looking forward to Urban Outfitters’ Broadway debut.”

Huizar's office announced yesterday that Urban Outfitters would take over the historic theater, make the necessary renovations and restore the marquee. Murmurings of the retailers move to Downtown were reported by KPCC in September 2012, but no deal was agreed upon until now.

“We had been looking at Downtown L.A. for several years, watching what was happening and where," said John Hauser, Urban Outfitters Chief Officer of Brand Experience, in a statement. “The Rialto movie palace building still has incredible character – you can feel the history when you are there."

Built in 1917, the theater was originally designed to show movies. It included an orchestra pit for up to 25 musicians, balconies on either side of the stage and a lobby finished in marble. The Rialto's marquee was restored in 1930 and is the longest existing historic theatre marquee in Los Angeles.

Although the building has a rich history, Huizar's office explains that the theater has been "gutted through the years" and had little chance of being revitalized as an entertainment venue. So instead, it will open as Urban Outfitters — owned by parent company URBN INC. who also owns retail chains Anthropologie and Free People. among others.

Urban Outfitters has signed a long term lease and is expected to open in early 2014.

To keep tabs on Urban Outfitters' progress as well as other current developments in Downtown, visit blogdowntown's map.


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