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Historic Fairfax Theatre Could Become Condo Complex

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With roof damage caused by rain, the Fairfax Theatre on Beverly Boulevard was shut down by city building inspectors in January. Now owner Alex Gorby has proposed developing a 71-unit condominium complex with street-level retail space and subterranean parking. Although he had 30 days to comply, the roof remains unfixed and Regency Theatres, which operated the space showing independent and foreign films, was unable to continue business as usual.

"We simply cannot allow this to occur," says Hillsman Wright, Executive Director of the L.A. Historical Theatre Foundation, who calls this "demolition by neglect" because leaving the roof unfixed will essentially destroy the interior of the theatre via "exposure to the elements - leaving a rotting, moldy, vacant eyesore."

The interior, by the way, is what Gorby wants to convert, leaving the exterior in tact. “We don’t believe the interior of the building qualifies for historic status, but that is what the process is for. We believe that preserving the façade is the right approach,” Gorby's consultant Ira Handelman told the Park La Brea News.

Wright believes construction could begin within two years if plans are pushed through and approved. A Cultural Heritage Landmark hearing is set for April 1 and the Friends of the Fairfax group plans to meet with L.A. Councilmember Paul Koretz to find a way to repair the roof and keep Regency as a tenant while the development proposal goes through approval processes.