After a report on Wednesday, the rumors have once again surfaced that Apple is interested in turning the Tower Theater in downtown LA into a retail store.
DLTA Rising reported that vendors who are operating shops in the Theater’s exterior stalls have been given a notice to vacate the property by the end of June, suggesting the building is being cleared out for a major project.
Apple has not yet been named as the building’s future tenant but in 2016 the company was said to be negotiating a retail lease of a 90 year old property. At this time, Apple was thought to be scoping out potential locations for a new LA flagship in the cities ageing, but historic, Broadway Theater District.
An unnamed source has told DLTA Rising that Apple plans to “encase the entire Tower Theater in a glass cube.” This is a highly unlikely case, considering the company’s recent architectural designs and delicate approach to culturally significant sites. It seems more likely that there will be a comprehensive restoration of the structure that falls in line with both city ordinance and internationally accepted conservation practices.
The Tower Theater was built in 1927. It boasts a Renaissance Revival facade and Paris Opera House-inspired interior although, according to yesterday’s report, all ground-level seating has been removed. It’s estimated that the main theater is about 7,500 square feet, while another 7,500 square feet of space spans a basement level.
In the past, Apple has been recognized for its efforts in preservation and restoration and in 2016 it was awarded the New York City Landmarks Conservancy’s Chairman’s Awards for its work on the SoHo, West 14th Street, Upper East Side, and Grand Central Terminal stores.
If the plans are true, Apple will be joining other big brands that have taken residence on the Broadway shopping street such as a Vans flagship store, as well as Aesop, A.P.C, COS, Theory, and Urban Outfitters that have recently opened nearby as part of a wider revitalization movement.
Cultural heritage protections have curtailed these revitalization attempts although this changed back in 2008 when City Councilmember José Huizar launched the “Bringing Back Broadway” campaign. This helped to create and institute city Historic Commercial Reuse Guidelines in 2013, a set of rules designed to foster commercial development while safely reactivating historic buildings.