Renovations planned to put Apple in the Tower Theatre

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For years now, rumors of an Apple retail store in Downtown LA have swirled, but a store has failed to materialize. We can now confirm the rumors are true.

Plans filed with the city’s department of building and safety show that renovations are planned for a portion of the Tower Theatre on Broadway, and they are explicitly planned for Apple.

Those alterations will involve renovations to the 91-year-old theater’s interior, plans show, as well as voluntary seismic retrofits to the space. The plans filed with the city say the work will “remove/replace existing gallery/mezzanine” at the theater.

The permits were filed by the owners of the Tower Theatre, but state that the work will be done for Apple. The paperwork for the permits describes the work as “tenant improvement[s] of existing leased space for a new retail store.”

The permits have not yet been approved, according to the department’s online database.

Late last month, broker and blogger Brigham Yen reported that some tenants in the small street-facing spaces that line the front of the theater along Broadway and Eighth were given notices to vacate their spaces by the end of the month—a move Yen saw as clearing the way for Apple’s entrance into the theater.

Yen cited anonymous sources in September when he reported that Apple had signed a lease for the theater and its basement.

Theater management and the project’s architect did not return messages seeking comment.

The location of the Tower Theatre would put Apple among the Ace Hotel and a slew of recognizable brand locations: Cos, the upscale minimalist sister of H&M, fancy skin- and haircare company Aesop, and chic designer Acne Studio—all of which would be within a two-block radius of the Tower.

The Tower Theatre opened in 1927, and was the first theater designed by the eventually prolific theater architect S. Charles Lee—also responsible for the nearby Los Angeles Theatre and Glendale’s Alex Theatre.

The Tower was the first Downtown theater wired for sound, and hosted a sneak preview of 1927’s The Jazz Singer, considered to be the film that marked the end of the silent film era.

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