Is Apple Building a Store Inside a Downtown Theater?


Fifteen minutes ago, the idea of Apple opening a store on Broadway would have seemed outlandish, but now that you can spend $2,350 on a Swedish lace skirt at 9th & Broadway anything goes. This morning, real estate agent Brigham Yen published an item speculating about a new store downtown. He thinks that Apple is considering renovating the long-shuttered 1927 Tower Theatre at 8th and Broadway. Apple joins In-N-Out and Trader Joe’s on the list of stores downtown residents have said they are most hungry for.

With a population of 54,000 (that’s just 10 percent smaller than the population of Apple’s hometown, Cupertino) and an annual household income of $98,700 the booming downtown neighborhood fits the demographic of where Apple likes to open stores. The company has even been known to restore historic buildings (see Pasadena and Santa Barbara), so it’s not much of a stretch to imagine them in an older space.

When the Tower first opened it was pretty high-tech for its time. The Renaissance Revival-style hall is reported to be the first theater in Los Angeles to be built for sound movies and the first in the city to have air conditioning. Decades later it was the Newsreel Theatre, where downtown shoppers could drop in to see the latest bulletins from around the world projected on the big screen. The theater has been mostly closed since 1987. If Urban Outfitters can bring new life to the gutted Rialto down the street, what can Apple’s deep pockets and different thinking bring to a gorgeous hall like the Tower?