When 30,000 people crowded downtown Los Angeles last week for the monthly Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk, Angelenos from all walks of life confirmed that downtown Los Angeles’ renaissance is now.
This coming weekend, we have another opportunity to welcome visitors downtown, this time from all over the nation.
The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) will be in Los Angeles for its annual convention. This highly sought-after group represents thousands of associations that we would like to host in Los Angeles in future years. Congratulations to LA INC., The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau for bringing ASAE to Los Angeles.
Ever since STAPLES Center launched downtown’s revitalization in the late 1990s, the area hasn’t looked back. Dozens of decaying historic buildings have been transformed into beautiful art deco apartments, and a host of new condo and apartment buildings have followed suit. The restaurant scene has grown from a small number of eateries that attracted the Monday-to-Friday business crowd to one of the nation’s most important culinary destinations. Downtown is now an entertainment destination seven days a week.
The completion of L.A. LIVE, which includes the JW Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton hotels, finally makes our City a first-choice convention destination. Microsoft will bring thousands of visitors annually for its meeting of service providers, and the list of big name conventions, entertainers and sporting events that are on the docket will boost our economy long into the future.
Now is the time to build on this success. Three other projects are in the works that have the potential to bolster downtown Los Angeles even more. Each of these additions deserves the support of our entire community, and fast action by elected officials:
The Eli Broad Museum. This new, $100 million museum will house more than 2,000 of the finest contemporary art pieces in the world. There is not a city in the world that would not do everything in its power to attract a museum of this stature for the benefit of locals and visitors alike.
The $1 billion Korean Air development. This exciting project will replace the aging Wilshire Grand Hotel with three high rise towers, including a 560-room luxury hotel. This is exactly the kind of investment Los Angeles should embrace as the “Capitol of the Pacific Rim.”
Bringing Back Broadway. This plan will revitalize a section of downtown’s historic center that includes a fabulous stretch of classic movie houses and performing arts theatres. Complete with a trolley car, this project will bring new life to one of Los Angeles’ most famous and important streets.
All of this is happening despite the recession. Collectively, these efforts to attract visitors and make our downtown a 365-days-a-year attraction will create and support thousands of jobs while generating millions of dollars in vital tax revenue for the City. And we can all help, by going out of our way to invite and welcome visitors and make sure these projects are completed quickly.