Over the past few years, the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles has rekindled its Hollywood roots by hosting a number of film premieres and screenings.

For instance, film director Paul Thomas Anderson chose the venue for a recent special screening of his 2002 quirky cult classic “Punch-Drunk Love.” In addition, the new L.A.-based Terrence Malick movie, “Knight of Cups,” also had its premiere there earlier this month.

“We chose to partner with the Theatre at Ace Hotel for the premiere of ‘Knight of Cups’ because it attracts an engaged audience of cinephiles that aligned perfectly with the film,” said Dylan Wiley, president of marketing at Broad Green Pictures in Hollywood. “The theater itself is an L.A. institution and a great setting for a film that pays homage to the city.”

The theater is housed in the historic United Artists building, which was built in 1927 for the maverick film studio created by Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks.

“The Theatre at the Ace hotel has done a number of film premieres and also live orchestrations – two things that Mary Pickford had in mind when she built the now refurbished United Artists Theatre,” said Ace Hotel spokeswoman Meghan Hessel.

Former owner Greenfield Partners of Westport, Conn., renovated the ornate movie palace in 2014 along with the 14-story Spanish Gothic tower it’s housed in, which was retrofitted into the 182-room hotel.

Greenfield sold the building for $103 million in May of last year to Chesapeake Lodging Trust of Annapolis, Md., though Greenfield continues to operate the hotel.

About 1,600 people packed the house for the “Punch-Drunk Love” screening March 5, which was presented with composer Jon Brion’s original score performed live by a 50-piece orchestra.

Anderson, Hessel said, has a particular affinity for the space, noting that he premiered his documentary “Junun” there last year as well as his film “Inherent Vice” in 2014.

A slew of diverse artistic events is on the calendar for the spring including a concert by the Smashing Pumpkins on March 27 and a Literary Death Match performance April 1.

Concessions at the theater include a full bar and traditional fare such as popcorn, hot dogs and candy.

Keys to Growing Scene

The co-owners of the newly opened Piano Lofts, located directly behind the Ace Hotel at 932 S. Hill St., are hoping to capitalize on the area’s growing entertainment and retail sectors to attract tenants.

Originally built in 1932 as the home of the Story and Clark Piano Factory, co-owners Ramin Rahimi and Kiwi Neman renovated the four-story building into 18 residential units and 4,800 square feet of ground-level retail space intended for a restaurant/bar. The apartments range in size from 980 to 1,500 square feet with an average asking rent of $3,500, according to broker Tiffany Gatto of downtown L.A.’s Smart LA Realty, who started leasing the building last week. A penthouse unit with 850 square feet of outdoor patio space is going for $7,995.

“The proximity of our location to L.A. Live, the Ace Hotel and Historic Core is one of our main selling points,” Gatto said. “This will be the upcoming area for high-end retail.”

Logging On

The fastest free public Wi-Fi connection in Los Angeles is on its way to downtown.

That’s according to downtown’s Rising Realty Partners, which has renovated the 1970s-era Figueroa Courtyard office complex at 261 S. Figueroa St. into a five-building, 270,000-square-foot project called Park DTLA, which opened Feb. 20. The new layout maintains a green space in the middle that’s open to the public.

The free Wi-Fi, at a rate of 100 megabytes per second, will be available throughout the complex and park, which also features solar-powered phone-charging stations, outdoor work areas and murals by L.A. artists Bumblebee and Kelsey Fisher, better known as KFish.

“We added a lot of hammocks and outdoor recreations like games and that makes the space very inviting,” said Marc Gittleman, senior vice president for third-party services at Rising. But the main selling point appears to be the Wi-Fi, installed by 5x5 Telecom, also of DTLA.

“There is no faster free public Wi-Fi in Los Angeles today,” he said, noting that tenants have access to even faster connections. “It really changes the way people do their work and how people are consuming the product of office space.”

A new atrium for public and private events is also being constructed on the corner of Figueroa and Third streets; Rising plans to finish the structure soon.

The office is already more than 70 percent occupied. Some of its tenants include U.S. Bank, Associated Press, StubHub, UCLA Extension and American Public Media.

Staff reporters Olga Grigoryants and Kristin Marguerite Doidge contributed to this column. #DTLA is compiled by Managing Editor Omar Shamout. He can be reached at oshamout@labusinessjournal.com.

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