Rumored online for months, The Hollywood Reporter has now learned that hip hotel chain the Ace will, in fact, open its first L.A. branch in the historic downtown United Artists building along Broadway in the rapidly gentrifying Historic Core district.
Multiple sources confirm that the boutique hospitality firm has reached an agreement with Greenfield Partners, a real estate group based in South Norwalk, Conn., which purchased the disused property for $11 million earlier this year.
The Ace, which did not return repeated calls requesting comment, first opened a fashion-forward Seattle hotel in 1999, followed by similarly trendy lodgings in Portland, Manhattan and Palm Springs. The latter two outposts in particular are especially popular with the media and entertainment industry crowds.
The Spanish-Gothic-styled building at 933 S. Broadway opened on the day after Christmas in 1927, with a screening in its eponymous 2,214-seat theater of the Mary Pickford and Charles “Buddy” Rogers film My Best Girl. Pickford and fellow United Artists founders Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin commissioned the venue to host world premieres for their studio’s films.
The remainder of the building’s 13 floors was dedicated to office use. At the time, the Broadway corridor was still at the center of the city’s white-collar business life.
The venue ran for decades under the United Artists banner before later turning over operations to Metropolitan Theatres. By the 1980s it was screening Spanish language movies. Pastor Gene Scott took over the space for his Los Angeles University Cathedral in 1989, and his church’s parishioners continued to utilize the building past his death in 2005.
Sources say that the Ace intends to make a fully renovated and reactivated theater the showpiece of its future hotel.