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Apple rumored to turn huge downtown LA building into flagship store, office space

Broadway Trade Center, Los Angeles, Calif. | Source: Los Angeles Times

A new rumor claims Apple has leased a large part of the Broadway Trade Center, a five-story, 1.1 million-square-foot building located in downtown Los Angeles, Calif., and is looking to convert the space into a mini campus complete with Apple Store.

Citing an anonymous tipster, the Downtown Examiner reported last week that Apple has signed a lease for "several hundred thousand square-feet" of space in the building, but offered no expected move-in date.

As far as how the gigantic area will be used, there are rumblings of a multi-use "campus" with offices, residential and retail space. Aside from a flagship Apple Store, a portion of the plot could be earmarked for a shop dedicated to Beats by Dre hardware, the site said.

According to ifoAppleStore, the location currently plays host to multiple swap meet style shops on the ground floors and a light manufacturer on the upper levels. Noting Apple's penchant for leasing in up-and-coming locales, the website points to an initiative called "Bringing Back Broadway," a ten-year plan to revitalize the historic Broadway area with theaters, commercial space and even a streetcar.

The Broadway Trade Center started life in 1908 as the Hamburger department store, which incorporated a restaurant, grocery store, post office, roof garden, theater and physician's office. Department store chain May Co. purchased the building in 1923 and later built on the property with a connected nine-story tower and one of the first parking garages in the U.S.

In 1979, the U.S. National Park Service listed the Broadway Theater and Commercial District in the National Register of Historic Places (PDF link), saying the Broadway Trade Center (then May Co.) is an architectural landmark "contributing character" to the area.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times in April, the building was purchased in 2014 for an estimated $115 million to $130 million by New York real estate investment firm Waterbridge Capital.