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Downey's Apollo Program Past Torn Down For Big Box Complex

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It's a little hard not to laugh: "Although Downey has managed to save the first Taco Bell and the first McDonald's arch," they have pretty much welcomed the wrecking ball to the site where aerospace workers built the Apollo modules for NASA's space shuttle program (it's also where Spider-Man was made!). The old Downey Industrial Site is being replaced with the Tierra Luna Marketplace, which will have 1.1 million square feet of retail, 300,000 square feet of office, a movie theater, and 150 hotel rooms. The LA Times reports that the "largely abandoned buildings were leveled over the holidays." The property has been hotly debated over the years--after the space shuttle program, it became Downey Studios, and then the city was desperately trying to court Tesla to open a car manufacturing plant (the company teased but ultimately moved to Fermont).

Now Tierra Luna (translation: earth moon?) is underway, but former aerospace worker Gerald Blackburn is trying to keep the Apollo memories alive--he runs the Aerospace Legacy Foundation "out of the last original building of significance at the plant site, an Art Deco timber-and-beam structure designed by Gordon Kaufman." He's working on a virtual tour of the old plant and is teaming with the city to put a '70s-era full-scale space shuttle mock-up on display (workers built it to win a contract). Downey's still looking for funds for that project.
· Holding on to Downey's place in the space race [LAT]
· Big Box Stores and More Proposed for Downey Studios Site [Curbed LA]