Groundbreaking held for $300M condo skyscraper in historic Broadway Theater District

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday for a $300 million condominium skyscraper that a Chinese developer is building on a long-moribund corner in the historic Broadway Theater District in downtown Los Angeles.

The intersection, at Broadway and Fourth Street, is part of a six-block stretch of downtown that is home to a dozen movie theaters erected between 1910 and 1931, when the district had the highest concentration of cinemas in the world and movie premieres were a regular occurrence. But after decades of decline in the neighborhood, all the theaters closed as regular movie venues by the 1990s, and most of the ones that remain have been converted to retail space or cater to special events and concerts.

The 35-story Perla condo and retail complex at 400 S. Broadway is the Broadway District's first new residential high-rise since the turn of the century.

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar has been spearheading efforts to rejuvenate the area over the last few years, including an annual "Night on Broadway'' street festival and a ``Bringing Back Broadway'' 10-year development plan.

"The Historic Broadway District has been a linchpin in our downtown revitalization efforts over the years. Through my Bringing Back Broadway initiative, we have made great progress by restoring and preserving dozens of historic buildings, including historic theaters,'' Huizar said.

"I am excited to see continued investment on Broadway, and Perla is a major addition,'' he said. "This project will bring much needed new residential units to the area, and add to the vibrant street and retail activity of this historic corridor. Broadway is a great place to work, visit and live.''

The project is headed by developer Winfred Zhang, president and CEO of SCG America, the U.S. subsidiary of Shanghai Construction Group. This morning's ceremony at the Fourth Street construction site marked the official groundbreaking for the company's first project in the western U.S.

Dozens of other residential developments are going up downtown, including dual high-rise apartment towers rising a few blocks to the south at Eighth and Spring streets.

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