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Inside the historic Westlake Theater before it’s sold

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The theater sits next to MacArthur Park

Photos by Matthew Lambros

The Westlake Theater just off Wilshire Boulevard could be on the cusp of a revival, so what better time than now to take a look around its faded but still impressive interiors. Photos by Matthew Lambros of the historic theater-focused website After the Final Curtain show off the ornate space inside the theater, including decorative arches and an incredible coffered ceiling.

The 1926 structure was “built in the Spanish style with baroque ornamentation,” says the Los Angeles Conservancy, and decorated with Renaissance-inspired murals that remain on the ceilings today. Built as a showcase for vaudeville acts and movies, it operated as a theater for 65 years. It was last used as a swap meet.

A new chapter for the Westlake Theater could be on the horizon, as the building was listed for sale earlier this year by the CRA/LA, the successor agency to the defunct Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, and the organization that’s tasked with selling off the redevelopment agency’s properties after a 2011 state law dissolved it.

The sale seems like something of a last resort: It comes after a failed attempt last year to find a developer interested in renovating the theater and perhaps create affordable housing and retail on four nearby properties.

The city of LA’s 2016 request for proposals yielded no responses, said Jimmy Chai, a broker with the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, which is marketing the property for CRA/LA. “No one wanted it. There were too many covenants,” Chai told Curbed about the request for proposals.

Bids were due for the Westlake on August 10, so if a big change is headed for the theater, it could be coming fairly soon.

By Matthew Lambros