Not far from where the new Korean American National Museum and apartments are set to rise, a fantastic and historic Koreatown structure could be seeing some major changes soon. The Wilshire Galleria near Vermont and Wilshire might be transforming from a half-occupied mall into a mixed-use development, says the LA Business Journal. The Harridge Development Group purchased the Galleria for $49 million and plans to redevelop it; among the handful of possibilities for the Art Deco building are "a mixed-use multifamily development or a mixed-use hotel that also contains residential units," a rep for Harridge tells LABJ.
The mall is currently about 50 percent rented out to tenants who are, for the most part, on month-to-month leases; they'll be asked to go as their leases expire. (One tenant, The Nature Spa, has a longer lease, so Harridge will build around them.)
The Wilshire Galleria opened in 1939 as an I. Magnin department store, a competitor to the Bullock's Wilshire a few blocks to the east. The all-marble building was designed by architect Myron Hunt, who also designed the Ambassador Hotel (now the site of a giant public school complex). In 1990, the I. Magnin closed, says the LA Conservancy. After the LA Riots, the building reopened as the "Korean-oriented" Wilshire Galleria. Apparently, an original Art Deco chandelier still hangs in the main shopping area—one of several vestiges of the building's glamorous past that remains.
· Koreatown's Galleria to Be Redeveloped [LABJ]
· Map: Finding Old Hollywood Glamour Buried in LA's Koreatown [Curbed LA]