CITY WATCH : Boom Town?

Even in bad times, good things can happen.

Four historic and once-grand buildings in downtown Los Angeles, including the Million Dollar Theatre and the Grand Central Market on Broadway between Third and Fourth streets, are scheduled to receive a major face lift.

Developer Ira Yellin plans to build housing and a major supermarket comfortably close to Metro Rail. His ambitious project would put mixed-income housing in a neighborhood that has been on the decline. It’s hoped that those new homes that are part of the market-rate housing will attract young professionals like the adventurous urban pioneers who have turned areas near downtown Boston and San Francisco into vibrant neighborhoods.

Gov. Pete Wilson is also expected to give a boost to downtown with his plan to move 2,000 state jobs to the Civic Center.


The governor announced Tuesday that the state will consolidate jobs in 37 agencies now spread out across the county. The move could save millions of dollars on the cost of office space.

To house the employees, the state will build an office complex, to be financed with a bond issue. That project will generate as many as 3,500 additional jobs in construction and related fields.

Downtown Los Angeles is no longer the sole commercial hub of this city, but a combination of major public and private projects can stanch the decline and revitalize the Civic Center. Yellin’s new housing and the relocated state jobs are great ways to bring people back to the heart of the city.