DTLA was a ghost town over the past year. Will renovations and nightlife coax people back?

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An estimated 75,000 people call downtown LA home, nearly triple the number compared to 20 years ago, but rising rents and the pandemic pushed many of them out. Photo by TierneyMJ/Shutterstock.

Downtown LA’s Tower Theatre officially became the site of a new Apple store on June 24. Some historical features of the building have been preserved, or even rebuilt, like the classic clock tower. But the building has also received many modern embellishments. The long-standing “Tower” lettering on the exterior is now illuminated with the Apple logo plastered above.

With renovations like this and eased pandemic restrictions, are more people returning to downtown LA?

“I thought it was gonna be a long road to recovery, but it's been New Year's Eve in every bar and restaurant in downtown LA since mid-June,” says Brian Houck, who owns The Escondite near Skid Row and Little Tokyo. He markets his business as a dive bar hideout for downtown locals and folks in the hospitality industry.