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New Plan for 40-Story Historic Core Tower Includes Revamp of Three Broadway Theaters

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Downtown developer Joseph Hellen has unveiled a redesigned version of his big new high-rise set for 525 Spring Street (site of a parking lot), and it looks like a cool departure from the last iteration of the project, designed by Martinez + Cutri. For one thing, this reboot, by Steinberg Architects with TSK Architects and seen on Urbanize LA, incorporates the renovation and reuse of three historic theaters also owned by Hellen: the Roxie, Cameo, and Arcade, which sit behind the parking lot on Broadway. Meanwhile, the new design for the tower—which will be 40 stories and 420 feet tall—looks like something that lives on a coral reef with its rippling horizontal lines.

Hellen's company Downtown Management is looking into all options for the three theaters, all of which are in use right now as swapmeets. The restoration would include "refurbishing" for the exteriors and theater signage, plus a revamp of the interiors, says the Downtown News.

The leading idea is to use the theaters for live entertainment, and the company has had some interest already from possible venue operators, but "I've heard the theaters are too small to be profitable," the VP of Downtown Management says. Another possibility is to convert the theaters into retail space, à la Urban Outiftters in the old Rialto further south on Broadway. Hellen bought the theaters "decades ago" with the intention of demolishing them; he was met with so much opposition from local community groups and government agencies that he eventually abandoned the plan. Today Broadway is in the thick of a very successful revitalization that's seen the revival of several old theaters.

The Spring Street tower, meanwhile, will hold 9,400 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and 360 residential units with one-, two-, and three-bedroom floorplans. They'll all be built to condo spec, though it's likely in the end they'll be rented as apartments. As for parking, the developers are requesting more: they'd like six levels of above-ground parking, with the idea that part of that space would be used by guests headed for the revitalized Cameo, Arcade, and Roxie Theatres.

The project, which Hellen is financing himself, is estimated to cost $160 million "or more." Hellen's been trying to get this the right development moving on this site for about a decade. It was just a 12-story apartment building in 2012, then it morphed into a skyscraper in 2013, with Hellen explaining that LA is a "world-class city" and therefore "should exhibit world-class high-rises."


· New Design Unveiled For Historic Core Skyscraper [Urbanize LA]
· Housing Plan Envisions Revival of Broadway Theaters [DN]
· New 40-Story Tower Planned For The Historic Core [Curbed LA]