The Community Redevelopment Agency board Wednesday approved a $1-million grant to convert a former Buddhist temple in Little Tokyo into a Japanese-American museum.
CRA Administrator John Tuite said the group of Japanese-Americans who want to convert the 63-year-old Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple at 1st Street and Central Avenue into the Japanese American National Museum face a formidable task.
"Architects must restore the building to most of its original design," he said. "Engineers, on the other hand, must find innovative ways to upgrade the building to seismic safety standards that will not compromise historic preservation goals."
The CRA approved the grant only after museum officials agreed to meet agency standards for historic rehabilitation. The city has owned the temple since 1970, when the temple congregation moved to another location.
Museum trustees are trying to raise $24 million for the project from public and private sources. Work is scheduled to begin early next year, and the museum could be open by late 1990.