The Westlake Theatre is a historic theater located in the Westlake section of Los Angeles, California, United States, adjacent to MacArthur Park. The theater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

Westlake Theatre
Westlake Theatre, April 2014
Westlake Theatre is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Westlake Theatre
Westlake Theatre is located in California
Westlake Theatre
Westlake Theatre is located in the United States
Westlake Theatre
Location634-642 S. Alvarado St.
Los Angeles, California
Coordinates34°03′30.01″N 118°16′31.32″W / 34.0583361°N 118.2753667°W / 34.0583361; -118.2753667
ArchitectRichard D. Bates, Jr. (original structure); S. Charles Lee (renovation)
Architectural styleCalifornia Churrigueresque
(Spanish Colonial Revival)
NRHP reference No.09001200[1]
LAHCM No.546
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJanuary 7, 2010
Designated LAHCMSeptember 24, 1991[2]

Opened on September 22, 1926,[3] the theater had seating for 1,949 patrons, and was used for both motion pictures and vaudeville shows. It was built at a reported cost of $750,000. It was designed by Richard Mortimer Bates Jr., with an exterior in a Mission/Spanish Colonial Revival style. The facade features Churrigueresque detailing of floral patterns and cartouche relief. The interior contains Adamesque references and murals by Anthony Heinsbergen.

The theater closed briefly during the Depression for renovations.[4] Exterior renovations in 1935 were designed by noted theater architect S. Charles Lee, and included an Art Deco ticket kiosk made of red-painted metal, unvarnished aluminum and glass; new lobby doors; and terrazzo sunburst paving in the foyer and front sidewalk. One of the theater's intact features is an original steel-frame, three-story neon sign on its roof.

The Westlake was operated as a first-run movie theater from 1926 until the 1960s. As the neighborhood's demographics changed, the theater was sold to Metropolitan Theatres Corp., which showed Spanish-language or Spanish-subtitled movies. In 1991, the building was sold to Mayer Separzadeh, who converted the theater into a swap meet. To protect the building from drastic changes, the building was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in September 1991.[5]

The theater was purchased by the now-defunct Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles in 2008.[6] The CRA announced plans to rehabilitate the theater as a venue for live theater, film, music, and other performances.[7] Progress under the CRA/LA was slow.[8][9]

In 2018, the theater was sold for $2 million to Jamison Services, a real estate development company based in Koreatown, which said it had plans to restore the theater.[10] However, as of 2019 the theatre was once again listed for sale,[11] and by 2020 Jamison Services had done no more than apply for permits to alter and repaint the building's exterior.[12]

See also



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ Los Angeles Department of City Planning (2007-09-07). "Historic - Cultural Monuments (HCM) Listing: City Declared Monuments" (PDF). City of Los Angeles. Retrieved 2008-06-03. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "6 Aug 1989, 142 - The Los Angeles Times at". Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  4. ^ "6 Aug 1989, 142 - The Los Angeles Times at". Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  5. ^ ICF Jones & Stokes (2009). National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Westlake Theater (PDF).
  6. ^ "Westlake Theatre Listed in National Register of Historic Places, May Soon Return to Roots as Entertainment Venue". April 14, 2010. Archived from the original on April 18, 2010.
  7. ^ "Westlake Theater Slated as Part of MacArthur Park-Area Development: CRA/LA to Buy Historic Theater for $5.7 Million and Refurbish" (PDF). Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles. October 22, 2007.
  8. ^ Pressberg, Matt (January 31, 2012). "The End Of The CRA: A Look At Five Projects". Neon Tommy. Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  9. ^ Meares, Hadley (August 15, 2014). "Sign of the Times IV: Sensation, Scandal and Salvation at Westlake Theater". KCET. KCETLink. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  10. ^ "Historic Westlake Theatre sells for $2M". Curbed LA. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  11. ^ "Westlake Theatre: history + exterior views". Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  12. ^ "Mapping the changes on Westlake's horizon". Curbed LA. Retrieved 2020-12-02.