|Westwood in 1929 wasn’t very exciting, either.|
The LA Times reviews attempts to revitalize Westwood and notes at one time it was a commercial center.
For decades, Westwood Village was the heartbeat of Los Angeles nightlife while downtown languished in solitude. Westwood had the movie theaters, fancy restaurants and bustling street traffic, and downtown was known as a quiet and intimidating place to be after dark. These days, a humbled Westwood finds itself in the unexpected position of turning to a resurgent downtown for ideas. Of the more than a dozen movie theaters that once stood in the village, all but three have closed down. A count this week found that about a quarter of the storefronts on the main boulevard are vacant. After numerous failed revitalization attempts over the last two decades, Westwood is now looking to some of its neighborhood rivals for inspiration. Village leaders see how the arts have helped pump new life into downtown as well as formerly sleepy areas like Culver City. With a new focus, Westwood is moving away from its past as an entertainment and upscale shopping mecca. Backers see the 21st century Westwood as a magnet for arts and culture, filled with galleries, museums, performance space and trendy food…
Note that to the extent that UCLA creates itself as an internal city – with its own Grand Hotel – the surrounding neighborhood gets no spillover effects. Students can live on campus and buy meals and other supplies without leaving. With the Grand Hotel, the same will be true for visitors to campus. So no one should be shocked, shocked at the results.