Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar, with support from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, an impressive slate of City leaders, downtown residents, civic and business organizations and property owners of the largest historic theatre district west of the Mississippi, shares a vision for Bringing Back Broadway.
The historic Broadway corridor, part of an important National Register Historic District, is located in the center of downtown Los Angeles and in the heart of the Historic Core. Broadway enjoys a colorful history as the birthplace of vaudeville and cinematic entertainment in Los Angeles and was once considered the retail capital of the United States. It features one of the largest concentrations of historic theatres on one street in the nation with twelve beautiful theatres located within nine blocks, set between a bevy of beautiful architectural gems. These structures stand in tribute to the architectural and engineering achievements of the early 20th century, and along with the theatres, contributed to Broadway's prominence as an important west coast center for business and commerce. Broadway was also one of the most popular destinations for Angelenos and tourists utilizing the city's former streetcar system.
For its rich history and tremendous future potential, Broadway is a true treasure in Los Angeles which is not meeting its potential in a number of different ways. Broadway bustles during the day, but merchants are struggling with a 15-20% ground floor vacancy rate as retail customers are increasingly being lured away to municipalities offering a wider variety of goods, services, and family activities in one stop. This ground floor struggle is made worse when viewed in context of more than a million square feet of vacant space in the upper floors along Broadway, providing no jobs, revenue, opportunity or continual support for ground floor activity. While some theatres have been reactivated, most of the glorious historic theatres do not offer regular entertainment programming, and Broadway doesn’t serve the needs of the diverse downtown community and its residents, workers and visitors, especially at night.
These challenges combine to threaten the long-term utility of this precious historic corridor, and also reduces the City's ability to capture revenue, create and retain jobs and to sustain the viability of its urban center Downtown, which, as the main economic driver in the region, has a profound ripple effect in areas far beyond Broadway.
To address these challenges, provide critically important assistance, and focus on Broadway's needs from both the public and private sectors, Bringing Back Broadway is a ten year vision – and an ambitious plan – launched in 2008.
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
- Reactivate inactive theaters
- Reactivate more than a million square feet of vacant commercial space
- Assist retailers and prevent further retail vacancies
- Implement infrastructure improvements
- 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, historic preservation, urban design, lighting design and streetscapes
- And make the dream of once again riding a streetcar downtown a reality.
It is a true public-private partnership which enjoys the active participation of a broad cross-section of the community, including business and property owners, representatives from civic, commercial and non-profit organizations, public agencies, downtown residents and other stakeholders.
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 throughout Downtown.