The UCLA Nimoy Theater won silver in Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2024 Commercial Real Estate Awards, recognized and honored as this year’s outstanding project in the Community Impact category. Read more about the project below and see the full Los Angeles Business Journal awards feature here to learn more about how this project and the other winners have enhanced Los Angeles.

The UCLA Nimoy Theater (The Nimoy) is a rehabilitation of the historic Crest Theatre, and its landmarked Art Deco renovation from the 1980s, into a state-of-the-art live performance space for the Los Angeles artist community. The Nimoy is now the new home for UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) and will bring memorable experiences to the active Westwood neighborhood and expand the cultural footprint of Los Angeles.Named in honor of artist, actor, director and philanthropist Leonard Nimoy, UCLA’s purchase of the long-dormant Crest Theatre was made possible by a major gift from his widow, actor, writer and director Susan Bay Nimoy.

The comprehensive renovation transformed the theater into a state-of-the-art, 299-seat, 10,500 square-foot venue—reconfiguring both the front and back of house spaces to bring new energy to the facility and revive it as a live-performance venue. Working within the designated historic fabric, an enlarged entrance lobby, new bar, upper lobby, and support spaces are designed to enhance the theater going experience.

The Nimoy now includes 150 permanent seats on risers. A flexible seating area allows for capacity of up to 299 seats in more dynamic seating configurations, including cabaret tables or standing room spaces. The seating can be expanded or contracted, depending on the stage needs of the performance. The stage is 35 feet wide with a flexible stage depth of 15 – 23 feet. An intimate upstairs lounge provides a secondary gathering space for pre- and post-performance gatherings and directly connects to the balcony. A raked seating parterre was designed to maximize sight lines and create an intimate viewing experience.

Central to the renovation was the restoration of key components to the theater—involving a meticulous process that reverently safeguards a myriad of remarkable features. Among these treasures were the awe-inspiring art deco elements, meticulously preserved to immortalize Disney Imagineer Joseph Musil, who crafted the historic marquee, enchanting light fixtures, ornate columns, and captivating wall-mounted interior pylons during a transformative renovation in 1987.

The revival of the 230-foot-long auditorium mural, an exquisite masterpiece portraying a stylized 1930s Los Angeles cityscape, was also central to the restoration of the theater’s interior. This visionary artwork, originally brought to life by the skilled hands of scenic artist Bill Anderson as an integral component of the 1987 remodel, underwent a particular restoration process to ensure its timeless grandeur persists.

Located near the UCLA campus in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, The Nimoy serves as an important addition to UCLA’s rich offerings of cultural venues and resources across the city. The project boosts revitalization of the Westwood neighborhood and expands the cultural footprint of the city by reviving a dormant building into a community home for artists representing a diversity of voices, viewpoints, ideas and creative expressions in music, dance, theater, literary arts, digital media arts and collaborative disciplines.