After three years of rumors, it's now official. Apple, the Cupertino-based tech giant that recently became the world's first company valued in excess of $1 trillion, will set up a one-of-a-kind store at the historic Tower Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles.
Completed in 1927 at the southeast corner of 8th Street and Broadway in the Historic Core, the Tower will house not only an Apple retail store - but also space for programs, classes, and possibly even live events, according to the Los Angeles Times.
At today's meeting of the City of Los Angeles's Cultural Heritage Committee, representatives of design architect Foster + Partners detailed plans for a painstaking restoration of the former movie palace, which includes required seismic and structural retrofits to the 91-year-old building. The project is intended to largely restore the Tower to its original appearance by removing mid-century alterations, recreating a portion of its iconic clock tower that was lost after 1970s earthquake, refurbishing its terra cotta exterior, and cleaning its interior.
A representative of Foster + Partners - which is working with local architecture firm Gruen Associates - stated that the Downtown store will be the first Apple location with a "theatrical component." But it is not the first historic building that the iPhone maker has converted for retail use. Apple already has stores in a historic bank in Paris and in a 19th-century warehouse in London.
The project received positive feedback from members of the Cultural Heritage Commission, as well as representatives of the City's Office of Historic Resources, the Los Angeles Conservancy, and 14th District Councilmember Jose Huizar. The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, which advocates for the restoration of Broadway's numerous historic movie palaces, released a statement saying that although a non-theatrical use is not the organization's preferred outcome for the Tower, they are not opposing the Apple store at this point in time.
Since rumblings of an Apple store first began in 2015, the surrounding stretch of Broadway has welcome a host of new retail tenants - including a Vans sneaker store now under construction next door. Also in the works is an immense restoration project at the former Broadway Trade Center across the street, which will contain a hotel, office space, and a food hall at completion.
- Historic Core Archive (Urbanize LA)