Kim Baldonado, Sean Browning
The official opening of the Los Angeles Brewing Company Thursday in the historic Chapman Building is part of an effort to revitalize the historic Broadway corridor. Kim Baldonado reports from downtown for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on April 19, 2012.
A packed house at the Los Angeles Brewing Company on Broadway in downtown LA Thursday night, as it celebrated its official grand opening.
Owner Ralph Verdugo says he chose that location because of the changing demographics.
"Five years ago you had 10,000 people living downtown. Now you have over 50,000 people living downtown," according to Verdugo.
It's no coincidence that just two blocks away, also on Broadway, UMAMIcatessen celebrated its grand opening last night. Both restaurants are part of the Bringing Back Broadway initiative, a 10 year plan by Councilmember Jose Huizar to revitalize the historic street.
"We have a 15- to 20-percent vacancy rate on the ground floor. We have more than a million square feet of vacant space on the upper floors of these gorgeous, beautiful historic buildings," according to Jessica Wethington McLean/Executive Director, Bringing Back Broadway
And there's more to come, including an ACE Hotel at the United Artists Theatre Building and a Ross in the 700 block, but much more needs to be done.
"It is a huge risk," according to Verdugo, "but it's a risk that's well calculated."