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Gothic Revival

Downtown’s hip new resident holes up inside the historic United Artists building. Check in and check out the Ace Hotel.

Originally built in 1927, the historic United Artists Theater at the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles reopens with an inaugural concert by Spiritualized on Valentine’s Day.

“Nothing good happens in an empty theater,” says Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation founder Hillsman Wright, who searched tirelessly for a fitting occupant willing to preserve the Spanish Gothic detail and ingrained Hollywood history of this towering landmark built in 1927 in downtown L.A. Serving as the flagship theater of United Artists—a union created by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin to champion artistic freedom—the breathtaking building credited for catapulting the Broadway Theater District changed hands among the likes of Paramount, Metropolitan Theaters and Pastor Gene Scott before years of vacancy. Cue the visionary Ace Hotel brand, referred to by President Brad Wilson as “kind of a neighborhood startup kit,” that set out to gentrify soulful areas of cities such as Seattle, Portland and New York by implementing “what’s current and fresh, [while] preserving what’s beautiful and historic.” Last month, the building’s new inhabitant, Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, debuted its 182 hip, loft-like rooms and a casual in-house bistro by Jud Mongell, L.A. Chapter. On Feb. 14, a kickoff concert by Spiritualized will christen the refurbished C. Howard Crane-designed masterpiece, whose mirrored ceiling, intricate murals and lavish plasterwork are essentially untouched. A slate of events, including a residency with Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project launching Feb. 20, aspire to keep the 1,600-seat theater packed. “Now, a new generation will see and appreciate this building,” says Wright. “And I think it will be as powerful and inspirational for them as it was for the people who were here during its heyday.” Rooms from $199, 929 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, 213.623.3233