Office Space: Broadway Trade Center Reuse Revealed as Boringest Possible

Bianca Barragan
Curbed LA

2014.08_Broadway-Trade-Center.jpg
2014.08_Broadway-Trade-Center.jpg

Back in April, we heard that Downtown's Broadway Trade Center (home to retail stalls and sewing machines rattling away on the upper floors) had sold and could be getting a hotel, offices, and apartments or condos. But the sale has closed and now it looks like new owners Waterbridge Capital have decided to go with the least exciting option for the historic structure: they plan "to build a creative campus, which will be ready in about 24 months for a major tech tenant to move in," according to a statement from CBRE, which brokered the sale. (No specific tenant has been locked down yet, says a rep for CBRE.)

The release does try to make the adaptive reuse project sound thrilling, though, saying that "Comparable to the Twitter campus in San Francisco or the Yahoo campus on Colorado in Santa Monica, the creative campus will provide green technology and electric cars," but it doesn't succeed all that well, perhaps because it's right up the street from the incredibly cool Ace Hotel and the rehabbed Rialto Theater, now an Urban Outfitters. Not easy to seem exciting next to those guys.

The Broadway Trade Center has had a colorful past, housing department stores, the LA Public Library (on the third floor), a 1,000-seat theater, and many smaller retailers at various points throughout its 100-plus-year history. About two and a half years ago, rumors surfaced of a possible hotel-apartments-retail sort of redevelopment, but those plans never got off the ground; then-owners Shahram and Shahriar Afshani (of Downtown's NCT Lofts) put the building up for sale last summer.
· Huge Broadway Trade Center Getting Mixed-Use Makeover [Curbed LA]
· Redevelopment Rumored at Downtown's Huge May Co. Building [Curbed LA]