South Bay : Agency Agrees to Buy Theater for Arts Center

In an effort to further the town's revitalization efforts, the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency agreed Thursday to buy the Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro for $1.2 million. The historic theater, built in the 1930s by Warner Bros., will be used as a community arts center.

Once the purchase is approved by the Los Angeles City Council, which votes on the matter Dec. 15, the Cultural Affairs Department will manage and operate the theater.

"I'm really excited about it," said Harbor district Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr. "We do feel that this is going to be a significant contribution to the revitalization in downtown San Pedro."

The theater, at 478 W. 6th St., was first used to showcase Warner Bros. films. As ownership of the building changed hands, it became a Spanish-language theater, then back as a first-run movie theater. Since the 1980s, the theater has only been rented for special events or used as a movie set.

By next summer, Svorinich said, he hopes to see the theater being used for cultural events such as performances of the San Pedro Ballet, folk concerts and ethnic festivals.

"It's one of the most positive endeavors that the Community Redevelopment Agency and the city has undertaken in historic downtown San Pedro in many years," he said, and "I think the community is going to embrace the project wholeheartedly."

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