Construction Launches for Little Tokyo Gymnasium

Aerial view shows construction under way on the Terasaki Budokan on Los Angeles Street in Little Tokyo. It is scheduled to be completed in early 2020.

For those passing by the future site of Terasaki Budokan sports and community center on Los Angeles Street between Second and Third streets in recent weeks, it’s been apparent big changes are afoot.

The six-story VIDA building, which previously occupied the parcel, has been demolished. Bulldozers with towering arms operate between hills of broken concrete and tangled rebar.

“It’s definitely an exciting time for the project,” said Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) Executive Director Dean Matsubayashi. “After years of hard work and perseverance, it’s gratifying to see construction in full swing.”

Advocates for a gymnasium in Little Tokyo have been calling for a facility since the 1970s. In 1994, the nonprofit social services and community development organization LTSC took on the project under the leadership of then Executive Director Bill Watanabe. Strong community support propelled the campaign forward.