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Historic Westlake Theatre sells for $2M

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The buyer is major Koreatown landlord Jamison Services

A photo of the Westlake Theatre in its most recent state, with a “swap meet” sign in front and hand-painted signs on its front. The large rooftop sign is in frame. Courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield

The landmarked Westlake Theatre adjacent to MacArthur Park has been sold.

The theater’s seller was the successor agency to the defunct Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, which was dissolved under a 2011 state law. The CRA/LA voted in January to approve the $2 million sale, and escrow is expected to close by March 15, according to the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation.

Curbed has confirmed that the buyer is Jamison Services, a major property owner and developer in Koreatown with at least 17 projects in the works in the Koreatown and Westlake neighborhoods alone.

There are not many details on what the new owners have planned for the property, though a spokesperson for Jamison tells Curbed the company plans to restore the theater.

The future of the theater—a city and national landmark—has been unclear for a few years. In 2016, the theater was listed for sale along with four adjacent properties, which were advertised as an opportunity to create affordable housing and retail. But the request for proposals drew no bids.

In July, the CRA/LA listed the theater for sale alone. According to CRA/LA documents, the successor agency received four bids, but two were ultimately withdrawn. The winning bid, from a limited partnership called 634 Alvarado, was the third-highest offer.

The Westlake Theatre opened in 1926 as a venue for vaudeville acts and silver-screen movies. Though it’s in rough shape now, it still retains its original Renaissance-inspired murals, coffered ceilings, and elaborate decorative wood moldings and flourishes.

The Westlake functioned as a movie theater into the early 1990s, but was most recently used as a swap meet.