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Los Angeles skyscraper to get observation deck

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Photo - FILE - This March 12, 2013 file photo shows the US Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles. The tallest building in the West is getting a makeover that will include a sky-high observation deck and restaurant offering 360-degree views of metropolitan Los Angeles, from the mountains to offshore islands. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel,File)
FILE - This March 12, 2013 file photo shows the US Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles. The tallest building in the West is getting a makeover that will include a sky-high observation deck and restaurant offering 360-degree views of metropolitan Los Angeles, from the mountains to offshore islands. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel,File)
News,Business,Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The tallest building in the West is getting a makeover that will include a sky-high observation deck and restaurant offering 360-degree views of metropolitan Los Angeles, from the mountains to offshore islands.

The 72-story U.S. Bank Tower will see about $50 million worth of improvements, including an upgrade of the lobby, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday (http://lat.ms/1qdGVKH ).

The downtown tower's new owners hope to make the building a busy tourist attraction to rival New York's Empire State Building and Chicago's Willis Tower, both of which are more than 100 stories tall.

Singapore investor Overseas Union Enterprise bought the structure on West Fifth Street for more than $360 million last year. It was built in 1989.

Market observers had speculated that some of the tower might be converted to hotel or residential use, but OUE says it will remain an office building.

The top floor is to remain offices for rent, but the 71st floor below it will become home to a restaurant, the newspaper said.

The 69th and 70th floors are to be connected by an interior stairwell and made into an observation and meeting space. The 69th floor already has terraces that will be opened up to form outdoor viewing spaces.

Visitors can see past Long Beach to Santa Catalina Island on a clear day.

OUE anticipates that the observation deck could attract 500,000 people per year, each of whom would pay around $25 for entry.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

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