A fledgling rooftop drive-in theater in downtown Los Angeles — a recent cause celebre for urbanites — has landed safely on its wheels after getting booted from its home atop a parking structure in the historic core.
To make way for a new skyscraper on Broadway, Electric Dusk Drive-In, where fans assemble in cars and lawn chairs to watch classic movies on a big inflatable screen, is moving to the site of another planned mega development on San Julian Street in the fashion district.
Just last month it looked like curtains for the young business when its landlord on Broadway announced that it was time for tenants to leave so that the building could be demolished. Stories about the theater's plight in The Times and local blogs brought relocation offers from local property owners, said Eric Heusinger, co-owner of Electric Dusk.
"I wanted to preserve that activity for the community, " the drive-in's new landlord, Peter Fleming, said. "It would be dreadful to lose that."
Fleming is president of City Market, an ambitious 3.3-million-square-foot development that would include a college, hotel, offices and apartments. It could cost as much as $1 billion and rise on 10 acres roughly between San Julian, San Pedro, 9th and 12th streets.
But construction is at least two years away, Fleming said. Until then and perhaps long beyond, theater-goers will have a ground-level view of the downtown skyline behind the big screen on the City Market campus, Fleming said. First to be screened will be the 1990 gangster flick "Goodfellas" on April 27.
Although Broadway has some of the best old buildings in Los Angeles, the former home of the drive-in and other small businesses is what is known in real estate circles as "a dog." The drab 1980s structure houses shops at street level with parking on the roof.
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