A new Center Theatre Group building which would include rehearsal halls and a children's theatre, plus a wraparound addition to the Ahmanson Theatre, are among the changes proposed in a new redevelopment plan for downtown's Music Center, home to the Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theatre. The plan, put together by a team of high-profile local architects, was presented recently to the Music Center's board of directors.
As described in a Los Angeles Times article by Nicolai Ouroussoff, the other suggested changes to the Music Center (and nearby Civic Center) include a reconfiguration of Grand Avenue between 2nd and Temple streets; a redesign of the Music Center's plaza; a new public reception hall; and the reconstruction of Bunker Hill east of the Center, transforming the land from Grand Avenue through the Civic Center Mall down to City Hall into a 20-acre urban park.
Ouroussoff called the plan "a grand idea in theory," if only because it linked the still-under-construction Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in a "cultural corridor" that could "transform downtown into a viable component of urban life in Los Angeles, and in doing so, send healthy ripples across the city."
The plan, which must still be approved by city and county officials, would cost an estimated $60 million in its first two stages, with no figures available yet for the third and final stage. The funding question has not yet been resolved, though some ten million dollars have been earmarked for downtown redevelopment by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Caltrans.
Center Theatre Group would benefit greatly from the new plan, which calls for its existing small office building on Temple St. to be expanded to include a children's theatre and rehearsal halls. The expanded Ahmanson would be linked more directly to pedestrian traffic on Grand Ave. — By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent