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Palladium operator plans major renovation

Times Staff Writer

The Hollywood Palladium, the 66-year-old Art Deco palace on Sunset Boulevard that has hosted legends from Frank Sinatra to the Grateful Dead, will get a top-to-bottom renovation by a new operator and reopen next year.

Live Nation, the Los Angeles-based live music company, said Wednesday it plans to invest “millions” in a more than yearlong renovation as it enters a 20-year lease on the concert hall.

For the record:
12:00 AM, May. 18, 2007 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday May 18, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 57 words Type of Material: Correction
Hollywood Palladium: An article in the April 12 California section about a planned renovation of the Hollywood Palladium cited a Sept. 23, 1940 opening date publicized by Live Nation, the theater’s new operator. Based on news articles and documents from the time, however, Live Nation now says opening festivities more likely took place in late October 1940.

City officials said they were thrilled.

“Live Nation’s restoration of the Hollywood Palladium synthesizes the best of Hollywood’s past, present and its future,” said City Council President Eric Garcetti, who represents the area, as the deal was announced Wednesday. “Hollywood’s next golden age is here, and the Palladium will be the first stop to watch it up close.”

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The theater opened Sept. 23, 1940, with performances by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Frank Sinatra. Over the years, it has played host to the Emmy Awards, the Grammy Awards, the Rolling Stones, James Brown, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Barbra Streisand and hundreds of others.

Live Nation said it would renovate the 4,000-capacity live music venue and reopen it in September 2008. It plans a major upgrade to the stage infrastructure to accommodate larger productions and an overhaul of interior and exterior areas to bring the hall up to date while preserving its “original aesthetic integrity.”

Other improvements include doubling restroom facilities and putting them in more easily accessible locations, modifying the auditorium to provide better views from all areas, doubling the amount of back-of-house space, and increasing the number of beverage sale counters.

“When you look at the inside and the outside, we expect it to be every bit as beautiful as when it opened in 1940,” said John Vlautin, Live Nation spokesman.

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Live Nation owns or operates 160 theaters worldwide, including the Wiltern on Wilshire Boulevard, the House of Blues on Sunset and the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine.

The last concert at the Palladium was performed by Wolfmother in December.

Alan Shuman, president of Palladium Investors Ltd., the privately held group that has owned the theater for 22 years, said he decided to stop operating at the end of last year and lease it out to others to operate.

Last August, a deal fell through to sell the theater to a Beverly Hills developer, Combined Properties Inc., which planned to retain the concert hall but develop the adjoining parking lot, possibly with stores and homes.

valerie.reitman@latimes.com


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