The Santa Monica Landmarks Commission unanimously voted for landmark designation last week for the former NuWilshire Theatre at 1314-1316 Wilshire Boulevard.
The NuWilshire Theatre, originally called the Wilshire Theatre, was built in the early 1930s and was designed by John Montgomery Cooper, who designed many office buildings, hotels, and theatres in the Los Angeles area. It has features typical of the Art Deco style, including a deep center entrance area from the sidewalk to the foyer doors, a terrrazo floor in the entrance area, and storefronts flanking the center foyer with transom openings above the storefront plate glass windows. The Streamline Moderne marquee with neon tubing, according to photographic evidence, replaced the original Art Deco marquee in 1938 or 1939.
One condition of the designation is that the building’s façade is now protected from alteration during any remodeling for adaptive reuse. As the marquee is one of the character defining features cited for designation, it will remain as is, regardless of the use of the building in the future.
The property owner, La Brea Washington LLC, has applied for a permit to convert the interior space to retail use, according to Roxanne Tanemori, City Associate Planner. Tanemori said that at this time, there is no information that the owner would appeal the designation.
Two local businesses, Buster’s Shoe Repair and Albert Andonian Jewelers, occupy the spaces on either side of the theatre lobby, but are being forced to vacate.
Robert Goli, of the Goli family, owners of Buster’s, said the business will be vacating within the next week. He also said that Andonian Jewelers has found a new location but Buster’s has not, although he would like to relocate to Main Street.