Addressing some of the pent up demand for more condos in Downtown LA, SF-based Trumark Urban broke ground last week on a new condo tower just a stone’s throw from Staples Center and the new massive $1 billion Fig Central project, which also just started construction recently. Aptly named Ten50 for its location at 1050 S Grand Ave in burgeoning South Park, plans call for a 22-story tower with three subterranean levels for parking (totaling 25 floors) and 151 condos for sale. The amenity-rich building will strive to be “boutique style” according to the developer, obviously distinguishing itself from the other much larger projects in the immediate area, including the aforementioned Fig Central that will have over 500 condo units.
Third wave coffee has finally arrived in the heart of Downtown LA’s Financial District, which is currently dominated mostly by Starbucks, Starbucks, and a couple of Coffee Beans. (Okay, there is third-wave Barista Society at Library Tower, but that’s borderline Bunker Hill.) Close to all the action, the very popular Two Guns Espresso from Manhattan Beach will be opening soon at the base of the Figueroa at Wilshire tower — a 53-story skyscraper owned by Brookfield situated directly across the street from the highly anticipated Wilshire Grand.
Billed as the biggest construction project in USC’s history, the $650 million USC Village project broke ground last September and is now actively under construction on the north end of campus just a little over a mile south of Downtown LA. The 1.25 million square foot mixed-use development — including dorms for up to 2,700 students and lots of planned retail options — replaces University Village, which was a nondescript and dated retail complex built in the 1960s. Last year, the exciting announcement came that Trader Joe’s would be opening a 12,700 square foot market inside this new project, which will not only serve USC students but the larger neighborhood as well. Now, a reliable source tells us that City Target has signed a lease taking up the majority of retail space inside USC Village.
With 166 locations in California, can you believe there still isn’t a Jersey Mike’s sandwich shop in Downtown LA? I find it interesting looking at the locations map on their website that the Los Angeles area is filled with Jersey Mike’s except for Downtown LA and the areas surrounding it, almost like a huge hole (or void) in a doughnut. As someone who believes we should have a little bit of everything in Downtown LA to provide the most options for various tastes in a fully walkable, transit-rich environment, I am glad that we’re finally getting our first Jersey Mike’s opening in South Park later this year.
Last year on a summer evening in July, a reckless drunk driver plowed his friend’s car into the Spring Street parklet in front of LA Cafe after a night of partying. Thank goodness no one was fatally hurt, but the parklet — which initially opened in Feb 2013 to much fanfare — was subsequently closed to the public as a result of the damage sustained by the car’s impact. The parklet was then fenced off and became an embarrassing eyesore in the community as the city neglected to resolve the issue in a timely manner. After a very long 8 months, the parklet finally reopened yesterday, albeit with less media attention this time around.
In recent years, the City of Los Angeles has made vast improvements to our transportation infrastructure. Still, when I’m inching along in heavy traffic, I think to myself that we cannot continue to spend our best days like this. Traffic wastes time, hurts our environment, and is taking a huge toll on our local economy: Congestion cost our region $23 billion in 2013, according to a report by the traffic information provider Inrix. Angelenos deserve to spend more of their time enjoying this vibrant, multi-faceted city, and desperately need easier access to booming parts of the city like Downtown L.A. We are ready and anxious for fresh transportation alternatives. The L.A. City Council has recognized this need, and it voted in November 2014 to launch a modest pilot program to establish one transportation alternative that’s growing in popularity: carsharing.
As the Wilshire Grand continues to rise steadily higher into the air — beginning to poke out of the Financial District like a sapling pushing through the forest canopy — we, in Downtown LA, are close to gaining the new tallest skyscraper west of Chicago surpassing both our own Library Tower and SF’s new tallest Transbay Center that’s also currently under construction. But that’s not all we’re gaining from the new Wilshire Grand project. As part of the approvals for the new tower, the developer Korean Air will also be funding an extensive multi-million dollar street improvement project adjacent to the tower along Downtown LA’s most significant east-west thoroughfare, 7th Street, that’s lined with some of the most beautiful historic structures on the west coast including the spectacular 1928 Fine Arts Building.
From the developers who brought us the Pacific Electric Lofts, ICO Development is preparing to open their latest residential adaptive-reuse project called The Broadway Lofts located just down the street from the revitalized Grand Central Market. The 6-story historic structure was built in 1906 as the Bumiller/Campbell Blake Building and sits between 4th and 5th Street on Broadway in a section that could definitely use the economic injection. I am told the new 3,200 square foot retail space will eventually be leased to a high quality retailer or restaurant that will add something great to this stretch of the block.
Circle Ks have become recognized as one of the main convenience stores tied closely with gas stations across the country. It’s the place you buy a snack or drink or play your hand at a lottery ticket before hopping back in your car. But now you can do that without driving as Circle K has opened up its very first urban stand-alone store near 7th and Broadway around the corner from the famous Clifton’s Cafeteria, which recently relit its new neon signs. The first Circle K stand-alone store in a suburban setting opened just a few months ago outside Chicago. The new stand-alone stores seem to be Circle K’s strategic plan to infiltrate into rival 7-Eleven’s convenience store territory.
This is huge! We all know building new hotels in Downtown LA is all the rage these days (like the new luxury Roberto Cavalli hotel coming to the $1 billion Fig Central project by Staples Center), but today’s news that JW Marriott is planning to add another 755 rooms in a brand new 38-story tower is definitely even more noteworthy than usual. AEG, the owner of LA Live where JW Marriott is located, is seeking support from the LA city council, and if approved, would expand the JW Marriott to 1,756 rooms making it the second largest hotel in California after the Hilton San Francisco in Union Square, which has 1,908 rooms according to the LA Times.
Most people nowadays search online when they are planning to book a trip somewhere through portals like Expedia or Travelocity. But Liberty Travel is betting that more people are yearning for personal face-to-face contact with a good ol’ fashion travel agent who can answer your questions right then-and-there and also still be able to look in their own database of hotels and airlines for special “off market” deals you might not find online on your own. And for those future travelers to faraway exotic lands, that in-person experience will be a lot more fun and interactive here in Downtown LA with the opening of a new Liberty Travel flagship store — called a “hyper store” — near 6th and Figueroa in the Financial District.
Downtown LA’s newest luxury rental building, The Emerson, developed by Related California is setting a new benchmark for apartment living in the city’s cultural center. With stunning interiors designed by celebrated design firm Marmol Radziner, The Emerson brings simple elegance and superb interiors to the DTLA apartment landscape. Rising 20 stories high with residences ranging in size from studios to one and two-bedroom layouts, The Emerson offers an unparalleled level of services and amenities.
With over 250 locations in the US, you’ve probably heard of Pure Barre before (there are 17 locations in the LA metro). For those who haven’t, it’s a fitness studio offering daily classes that’s meant to whip you into tiptop shape using a mix of exercise techniques inspired by pilates, yoga, and dance. A brand new Pure Barre just opened last month in Downtown LA on Olive Street near 8th and it’s another strong sign that downtown is maturing into an actual livable community filling up with a diverse range of services and amenities for its growing population.
A couple weeks ago, we talked about the exciting changes coming to 11th and Hope, which included the retrofit of an existing parking structure by replacing the first level parking with 11,000 square feet of retail space — a revolutionary move for car-obsessed Los Angeles. Now, the first business to open in this new retail addition will be CoCo Fresh, which offers a wide variety of boba drinks (sometimes referred to as bubble tea) including favorites like the original milk tea or the aromatic passion fruit.
In the increasingly crowded landscape of Downtown LA’s development boom, Fig Central across from Staples Center, having recently broken ground, will still stand out as one of the hugest game changing projects to date in Downtown LA. When completed several years from now, this truly massive $1 billion project on 4.6 acres of land will catapult South Park to a whole new level of urbanization. Three skyline-redefining towers designed by RTKL (shown in these new renderings released) will rise as part of the project — one 49-story tower and two 40-story twin towers — adding 504 new luxury for sale units to downtown’s condo-starved housing stock.