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LOS ANGELES-Although it has been just several weeks since the LA City Planning Commission approved the LA Sports and Entertainment District, the prospect of its development already has one company staking a spot Downtown.

Yesterday, Palm Restaurant made a formal announcement that the chain will open a new restaurant on the corner of 11th Street and Flower Street, having signed a lease for 13,500 sf in the Toy Center Building.

“This is a real opportunity,” said Alfred L. Thimm, president of Palm Management Corp., who spoke at yesterday’s press conference. “We’ve been studying Downtown for a year or two,” he added, saying the company feels there is real potential in the area.

L.A. City Council member Mark Ridley-Thomas and L.A. City Council member-elect Jan Perry expressed their support for the LA Sports and Entertainment District, as they and other politicians, business leaders and sports executives gathered around caricatures specially created for the location. “This is a fantastic project,” Perry said. “It has given new life to an area of the city that had flatlined before it arrived.”

The new Palm Restaurant location, which features large windows providing a view of Staples Center and elegant 1920s architecture, will include a boardroom, a main dining area and a bar and grill area when completed. A January 2002 opening is planned, with seating for 400.

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