Placemaking Confronts Entertainment Initiative in a Downtown L.A. Alleyway

A quaint downtown L.A. alleyway celebrated for its Old World charm has been cleared of its outdoor dining facilities to ease access to a rehabilitated theater's loading dock. Can an equitable compromise be found?

St. Vincent's Court is a California historical landmark, and until recently served as an oasis "from the bustle and roar of Broadway's Jewelry District" in downtown Los Angeles. But a crackdown on outdoor seating, prompted by a complaint from a local theater owner, has spoiled a long-time detente, reports Frank Shyong.

"For years, city officials looked the other way as merchants in St. Vincent's Court placed their tables in the street — a violation of the public right of way and a persistent hindrance to trucks trying to reach the Los Angeles Theatre's loading docks at the end of the alley."

But theater owner Shahram Delijani complained to the city when the tables became an obstacle to the historic theater's comeback, which is "critical to Councilman Jose Huizar's initiative to revive Broadway as an entertainment destination."

Norayir Oz, co-owner of the alley's oldest restaurant, "doesn't understand why the community celebrates new parklets jutting into Spring Street as triumphs of urban design, but in St. Vincent's Court, outdoor seating is a nuisance. (His application for permitted seating was rejected.)"

"'It doesn't make sense,' said Oz, who has cut his employees' hours and now washes dishes himself."

Full Story: Quaint downtown L.A. alley cleared of outdoor dining

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