downtown los angeles, historic core
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Rumors: Apple Store Taking Over Historic Tower Theatre in Downtown LA

Apple is "securing" the historic 1927 Tower Theatre as its new Downtown LA flagship store

By now many of us know that Apple has been looking to open a store in Downtown LA, which would obviously be a huge game changer on the retail side of downtown development. But the question on everyone’s mind has been where? Well, two locations have popped up over the past year as possible considerations: The Bloc in the Financial District and the Broadway Trade Center in the Historic Core. The latter being the more likely case. With that being said, now according to some new exciting “inside info” I’ve come across, there’s an even more amazing location that Apple is apparently looking at taking over: the historic Tower Theatre at 8th and Broadway.

The Tower Theatre is currently owned by the Delijani family who had planned to turn the theater into a restaurant and bar without success. Finding a reliable restaurant operator is a challenge, and given the opportunity, most landlords would be foolish to reject a tenant as coveted as Apple. The interior of the Tower has been altered considerably over the years with all the seats on the ground level removed leaving a mostly empty box inside at about 7,429 square feet large including an equal size basement below. In addition, the Rialto Theatre a few doors down from the Tower was also converted into an Urban Outfitters back in 2013 setting a precedent for activating some of these amazing historic theaters with prime retailers.

The Tower Theatre is one of the most beautiful historic buildings in all of Los Angeles designed by famed architect S. Charles Lee who also designed the equally impressive Los Angeles Theatre up the street. Built in 1927 as a historic movie theater, The Tower Theatre sits prominently on the southeast corner of 8th and Broadway surrounded by economic activity on all sides including the aforementioned Broadway Trade Center project located directly across the street. What the structure lacks in size (it’s actually the smallest out of the dozen historic theaters along Broadway designed to only seat just over 900), it more than makes up for in its ornate detailing, including the stunning terracotta clock tower that faces the intersection with a beautiful vertical lighted sign spelling out “Tower” on its side.

Apple is no stranger when it comes to incorporating its store designs into historic structures. One of its busiest locations in the world on Regent Street in London is also inside a historic building much older than our own Tower Theatre. And one only needs to visit their flagship store at the Grand Central Terminal in New York to see how well Apple is able to fit into pretty much any context beautifully.

Needless to say, I am hoping this becomes true and we’ll all be seeing the Apple logo above the theater’s marquee facing Broadway in the near future.

22 Comments

  1. Paul wright says

    This would be the perfect location that will definitely be a very busy intersection in the near future. Bravo if this is true.

  2. Michael says

    I’ll probably be the sole naysayer… While I do think Apple is a critical tenant for most retail environs, I do not think they’re best suited to occupy a historic theater. The venue could more appropriately accommodate food beverage / entertainment. They’d have to introduce a lot more light which would detract from the authenticity of the intentionally dark theater. I’d be curious to see exactly how they integrate with the theater without ruining it.

    The GCT store is hardly “integrated” they just put up tables and an apple logo in one of the busiest train terminals in the world.

    • I respectfully disagree on several points. There is no way this can function as a true theater and the introduction of light is…exactly… what the Tower needs – more than anything else – to showcase its stunning walls and ceilings. It is a jewel box that needs to be shined and polished and filled with light and Apple is the perfect tenant to provide that and its products would provide the perfect contrast to the ornateness of the theater.

      • Taffygrrl says

        Except if you look at what Apple has done with their other historic spaces, they don’t preserve the interior ornamentation. They remove ALL internal ornamentation and turn the building into a giant white box on the inside. That would be TERRIBLE for the Tower.

  3. Christopher says

    I hope this happens. You need a company with deep pockets to restore and maintain this kind of historic building. Food and beverage wouldn’t be enough. Restaurants and bars tend to come and go depending on the publics whim. Apple ain’t going anywhere anytime soon!

  4. I’m skeptical about these rumors. This is a small store by Apple standards goes against the typical “light, open, and airy” philosophy. Unless they can open up the windows by the balconies and flood the space with light, I doubt Apple will bother. Especially when across the street there will be a perfect space ready in a couple years.

  5. Oscar Espinoza says

    With all the upgrades and changes there have been in downtown Los Angeles in the last couple of years, this is something that should refine the intersection.

  6. yes! two blocks from me. that would be amazing and very needed. i can’t believe the closest one is the americana or the grove with so many young creative professionals that utilize their products living in the area. apple would definitely be a great addition to our neighborhood.

  7. Amazing would be an understatement. If this is true, I wonder what the parking situation will be. This is still LA and the streetcar isn’t done yet.

  8. julietrevino says

    It’s going to be really interesting to see what they do with the space. Even with lighting, it’s still an incredibly dark, cavernous space which goes against the minimalistic bright whiteness that Apple usually goes for. I can’t imagine how it would work, whether they can contrast rather than end up clashing with the ornateness. It’s a weird space. In other historic buildings that Apple has taken over, the interiors are gutted and modernized. That’s not going to be allowed to happen with this space.

  9. jeff bridges says

    I really hope this is only a rumor. This is not a good fit. There are many current and upcoming spaces that would be perfect for the look and atmosphere of an apple store. This theater has a false level wooden floor over the original sloped floor. It hasn’t been leveled with concrete which would end any possibility of a future live or movie entertainment venue. Apple would put the nail in the coffin for this theater. Urban Outfitters should be a sad reminder of what can happen to a beloved theater. Just look at the Orpheum down the street; it was in pathetic condition and now is a world class entertainment venue. The same can happen to the Tower on a smaller more intimate scale. No more theaters being converted into retail stores, please.

    • Lawrence says

      Apparently many people don’t understand the economics behind running a theater or entertainment venue. Even the Orpheum, which is among the most successful of Broadway’s revived theaters, has a hard time keeping regular bookings. Also, this theater has largely been gutted and like many of the other theaters on Broadway was designed for films as opposed to live performances. A retail usage that allows for the maintenance and restoration of the building’s architectural features is the best and most economically feasible way to go. The fact is, even if you were to spend tons of money to covert this building back into a functioning theater, most audiences will still prefer a multiplex or similar venue. Single screen theaters just don’t have the mainstream appeal that they did when they were the only game in town.

      • corner soul says

        I dunno, the Vista seems to do well as a single screen movie theatre. And there’s certainly no shortage of bands coming through LA. I wonder if the bigger problem downtown is weak programming and price gouging? There’s cheaper venues booking better acts nearly every night in this city. Kinda seems like the downtown venues just don’t care all that much.

  10. Sarah says

    This is the first time I have ever disagreed with Brigham. There are many other spaces on Broadway far more compatible for an Apple Store that would not be destroyed in the process. The former Les Noces Du Figaro is just one of them, I could easily name ten more. Apple should be far smarter and more creative than this.

  11. Let me start by saying that I literally look out my window and see this building every day. Currently the building is in a state of severe disrepair and sits dark every day. This would re-activate the corner, restore the buildings beautiful facade and help lure other prestige retail back to Broadway.

    There are so many amazing theaters begging for restoration downtown. It has always shocked me that in a town driven by the entertainment business that these theaters just sit empty. Someone needs to restore them and develop a theater scene here in LA similar to NY, Chicago, Toronto, Paris or London. So if you are one of those people wanting to restore these theaters for plays or movies vs retail… DO IT.

    Net-net, I think this is amazing and hope that this rumor becomes fact.

    • Lawrence says

      Although a nice thought, many of the theaters on Broadway would have a hard time accommodating modern live productions, especially those requiring elaborate sets or extensive loading. These theaters were designed for films or simpler shows that were more vaudeville in nature. The stages aren’t very deep and the backstage areas are generally not large enough to accommodate the needs of a large scale modern production, especially the smaller venues like The Tower. Ultimately, for these smaller theaters to be economically viable long term, they will need to see different types of reuse including retail. Some of the larger venues like The Los Angeles, Orpheum and Palace, however, may have more success as entertainment venues given their larger size.

  12. jeff bridges says

    There’s no reason for this theater to be a martyr for this intersection. The re-activation of this corner is inevitable. Within the next few years the Hamburger’s/May Co. block will be finished and this intersection will be one of the most intact and beautiful on Broadway. I’ve toured this building from the tower to the basement many times and although it might not be visually great at this point the bones are good and most of the original decorations are intact. This lady has waited for decades and can wait a few more years. Regardless of what you think of Apple, a huge corporation doesn’t fit in with a small jewel like the Tower.

  13. Allen Kirkland says

    They should open an Apple Store in the Blue Jeans Building. That would make perfect sense and it’s a great fit. I can only imagine how that Apple logo will look on that front facade!

  14. yes I will have to agree with Allen the blue jeans building will make a great apple store the facade is butiful I can just imagine that apple up there and with all the lights yes the frontage will suit exactly what apple needs

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