Black Meetings and Tourism

July/August 2014

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of these folks are already on board, and we have our own team on board with what we think is a structured approach which we hope is going to reward us with some sig- nificant attendance from this market. Q: What are some of the new develop- ments taking p[lace in Los Angeles? A: There are so many things going on. LA is the hot place to be. We've got the Eli Broad Museum of Contemporary Art that coming out of the ground that will be open in another 8 months. What's special about it is that it's going to be free to the public. Downtown itself is revitalized in a major way. It's just announced a 40,000-sq. ft Whole Foods. There are several new rental units coming downtown. I think there's about 55,000 or 60,000 people living down- town. I think that number's going to grow to 100,000 within five years. There is an effort afoot to have an above ground trolley sys- tem that will go down Broadway, circle itself around LA Live, come up Figueroa, and then come back all the way up here to the Music Center, and then go back around. That will fill in the crucial missing link between the Convention Center and LA Live. We have a whole walking tour arts district in downtown area – this hop on hop off thing is just going to be great for it. Of course we are gong to have the tallest building west of Chicago on the area of Grand and Figueroa, what used to be the Wilshire Grand. It will be 73 stories high and the registra- tion will be on the 71st floor. It's being developed by Korea Air, and it should open by the last part of 2016. It's going to be a 900-room anchor hotel when it's done. There's lots of talk about new hotels in and around the city. Right now we count about six projects coming out of the ground as we speak. And let's not forget what's happening down at the Forum on Century Plaza. That was acquired by Madison Square Garden Corp., and now they have stripped it down to its studs. It's going to be huge - up to I think 18,000 seats – entertainment venue. No sports, but it will be an adjusted enter- tainment venue, where you could have a small event for 5,000, or through the use of curtains customize it for 10,000, 17,000 or whatever. The Academy Award Museum is a new museum that's going to be on the same campus as LACMA. It's going to be a huge sphere of glass and the inside will be the big screening theater where they have award ceremonies and movie screenings. That will be a landmark the way the Disney Concert Hall is. So Los Angeles is a place that constantly reinvents itself and reinvents the country. I'm fond of telling people when I'm away that Los Angeles is to the United States as the United States is to the world. Everybody wants to be here. Everybody wants to come here. They want to experience it once. It's inspirational. So whether you're in South Africa or St. Petersburg in Russia, or Beijing, you want to come to the United States. And everybody in the United States wants to come to Los Angeles. And they'll all start off by saying this – "One day, one day I'm going to go to LA." Because it's just inspirational. It's a place where all things happen. Q & A B M & T ••• July/August 2014••• 27 Downtown, Los Angeles

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