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History

20 Before-and-After Google Street Views Show L.A.'s Dramatic Changes Since 2007

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Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM
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Google Maps recently rolled out a new feature that essentially lets you travel back in time by accessing street views from as far back as 2007. That wasn't so long ago, but it's pretty remarkable to see how our streets have changed in just seven years. Remember 2007? It was the start of what's now considered one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression. It was also the year in which Apple launched the iPhone and Google Maps unveiled its Street View panoramas - and thus began our collective obsession with photographing and documenting the world from our phones and computer screens.

We used Google Maps' Street View imagery to compare how L.A. streets have evolved. In some cases, formerly abandoned buildings got a restoration or a new paint job. Beloved businesses have come and gone. In more extreme cases, skyscrapers have been erected in what was once a vacant field. Let's take a trip back in Google Street View time and see how some of our most rapidly changing streets have fared in the last several years. 

700 block of Fourth Place, Little Tokyo: Back in the summer of 2007, the corner of Fourth Place in Little Tokyo looked like every other nondescript corner anchored by a warehouse in industrial downtown L.A.

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In 2014, the purple-painted corner building is home to Eighty-Two, a new arcade bar that opened in March and has since become the go-to spot for classic arcade games, pinball marathons and DJ-hosted dance parties. 

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800 block of East Third Street, Little Tokyo: Just around the corner on Third Street in Little Tokyo, this boarded-up brick building sat vacant in the summer of 2007. 

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Years later, this bustling stretch of Little Tokyo boasts sausage joint Wurstküche, burger bar Umami and design shop Poketo. But the telltale sign that this 'hood's been revitalized isn't among those businesses, or the brewery and food trucks across the street on Alameda. It's the Shepard Fairey "Peace Goddess" wheat paste on the side of the building below. 

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800 block of South Broadway, downtown: Broadway in downtown L.A. has gotten a huge face lift in recent yeas, thanks in part to the folks behind the Ace Hotel, which took over the circa-1927 United Artists Theatre earlier this year. The Rialto Theatre, which opened in 1917, was vacant and available for rent in the summer of 2008. 


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Vacant no more. Looks like the Rialto Theatre found a tenant: Urban Outfitters, which moved into the historic space in late 2013. 

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200 block of South Main Street, downtown: Even Main Street near Skid Row has undergone a serious transformation in recent years. Back in 2008, at the height of the economic recession, this lot near the baroque Cathedral of Saint Vibiana was just a pile of dirt. 

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Fast forward to 2014: there's ample parking for guests of Vibiana, the 1876 cathedral that's now a posh event space, and the Downtown Independent, a super-modern movie house that opened in 2007 and hosts everything from indie film fests to wild comedy shows to rooftop fashion galas. 

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800 block of West Olympic Boulevard, downtown: Back in 2008, this construction site was a bit of an eyesore off the 110 Freeway. 

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Fast-forward a couple of years, and that former construction site is now the sleek, 54-story tower of the L.A. Live Marriott, complete with a rooftop pool and Ritz Carlton residences. The brand-new residential building across the street appears to be under construction still. 

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800 block of West Olympic Boulevard, downtown: Let's peer right across the street at this same intersection on Olympic. In 2008, this massive pile of wood and cement resembled an unfinished parking structure. 

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Now, it's an ultra-modern shopping mall that houses the Grammy Museum, Lucky Strike bowling alley and a bunch of upscale steakhouses. You probably could live at this place and never have to see the outdoors again. 

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