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Home > Feature Articles > Municipality Strategies for Sustainable Community Best Practices

Community Revitalization in Downtown LA on Broadway

Community revitalization is green. It reclaims old buildings and roads. It provides jobs. It provides meeting spaces and home spaces and productive business spaces. And it minimizes urban sprawl and use of new materials.

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Large cities such as Los Angles have struggled for decades with urban centers that have succumbed to urban sprawl. The green movement can usher in a new reason to revitalize these resources. One city that is launching a concentrated urban redevelopment project to repurpose their downtown resources is Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles' historic Broadway corridor, located in the center of downtown, in the heart of the Historic Core, features one of the largest concentrations of historic theatres on one street in the nation. Twelve beautiful theatres are located within nine blocks, set between a bevy of beautiful architectural gems; these structures are a tribute to the architectural and engineering achievements of the early 20th century.

The Broadway corridor is part of an important National Register Historic District.

Broadway is the birthplace of vaudeville and cinematic entertainment in Los Angeles and was once considered the retail capital of the United States. It was also an important west coast center for business and commerce and was one of the most popular destinations for Angelenos and tourists riding the city's former streetcar system.

For its rich history and tremendous future potential, Broadway is a community treasure in Los Angeles which is not meeting its potential.

RETAIL: Broadway bustles with shoppers during the day, but there is an increasingly high vacancy rate among ground floor retail shops and existing retail customers are increasingly being lured away to municipalities offering a wider variety of goods, services, and family activities in one stop.

ENTERTAINMENT: Very few of the historic theaters offer entertainment programming, more than a million square feet of commercial space is currently vacant in the upper floors of Broadway's buildings, and the boulevard does not serve the needs of the downtown community - especially at night.

ECONOMICS: These challenges combine to threaten the long-term utility of this corridor, and also reduce the City's ability to capture revenue, create and retain jobs and to sustain the viability of its urban center downtown.

To address these challenges, provide critically important assistance, and focus on Broadway's needs from both the public and private sectors, Bringing Back Broadway was launched in January, 2008.

Bring Back Broadway Initiative

Bringing Back Broadway is a public-private partnership initiative focused on an ambitious ten-year plan to:

  • Revitalize the historic Broadway district between 2nd Street and Olympic Boulevard
  • Activate inactive theaters
  • Re-activate more than a million square feet of vacant commercial space
  • Assist retailers and prevent further retail vacancies
  • Increase parking and transit options to serve Broadway
  • Encourage cultural, entertainment and retail uses on Broadway that will sustain generations
  • Create a sense of place and history through urban planning, design and lighting guidelines and streetscapes
  • And make the dream of riding a streetcar downtown by 2014 a reality.

As a link between the past and the future, the revitalized historic Broadway corridor will ensure that the vibrant, cultural character of Broadway remains, while helping Broadway provide something for everyone, day and night by complementing and connecting new large-scale downtown entertainment and cultural destinations, as well as galleries, restaurants, and cultural activities on Spring Street and throughout Downtown.

Explore for more information on this exciting initiative.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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