New Downtown LA CVS Opening August 10; Fingers Crossed It Helps Improve Seedy Intersection

A new CVS Pharmacy drug store is opening at the corner of 7th/Spring in Downtown LA this coming August

A new CVS Pharmacy drug store is opening at the corner of 7th/Spring in Downtown LA this coming August

Last November, we found out that a new CVS Pharmacy drug store had signed a lease to take over the entire corner of the historic Van Nuys building at 7th and Spring in the heart of the Historic Core. This can be seen as a good and bad thing for those who live in downtown. Good because it’s always nice to have more options and variety to get your daily residential needs fulfilled. After all, CVS along with other drug store chains like Walgreens and Rite Aid are meant to be neighborhood serving retailers that are convenient and ubiquitous in established urban communities. However, this particular CVS can also be viewed as a bad thing because of its close proximity to Skid Row where homeless individuals are known to frequent these drug stores to purchase prescription drugs and alcohol. In the case of Rite Aid at 5th/Broadway, loitering in front of the store is a big issue along with drug dealers and other unpleasant “it’s-your-fault-for-moving-to-an-urban-downtown” experiences like getting beat up by random thugs!

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Confirmed: Downtown LA’s Commercial Exchange Will Become Trendy “Freehand” Hostel

The long abandoned historic 1924 Commercial Exchange building will become the third and largest Freehand location in the country opening in 2016

The long abandoned historic 1924 Commercial Exchange building will become the third and largest Freehand location in the country opening in 2016

Last weekend, DTLA Rising broke the exciting news that the long-vacant Commercial Exchange building was purchased by NY-based hotel developer Sydell Group. As many of you read, we accurately called out that Sydell would likely convert the CommEx into their new trendy hostels concept called “Freehand.” Currently, there is already one in Miami that opened last summer and another one under construction in Chicago. Now it’s confirmed with a press release from Councilman Jose Huizar’s office that the CommEx will indeed become the third and largest Freehand location in the country.

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West Coast’s Tallest Observation Deck Coming to Library Tower in Downtown LA

Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower): The tallest skyscraper on the west coast to get an observation deck by 2015

Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower): The tallest skyscraper on the west coast to get an observation deck by 2015

Back in February, there were rumors flying around that the Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower) could go part residential and hotel in addition to office. And although the LA Times confirmed today that won’t happen, exciting rumors also from February of the observation deck and upgraded lobby did stick. By this time next year, Library Tower—the tallest skyscraper west of Chicago at 1,018 feet tall—could become one of LA’s most sought after tourist attractions with a new observation deck and restaurant. In fact, the owners of the skyscraper hope to attract 500,000 visitors a year, which could become a nice economic boost to the local businesses and restaurants nearby in the Financial District and Bunker Hill. For me, I think it’s about time Library Tower got an observation deck (25 years later).

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Tender Greens Looking to Open August 2014 at PacMutual in Downtown LA

A rendering of Tender Greens shows a sleek exterior with patio dining and a new "walk up" window for faster to-go service (Photo: Valerio/Tender Greens)

A rendering of Tender Greens shows a sleek exterior with patio dining and a new “walk up” window for faster to-go service (Photo: Valerio/Tender Greens)

It was a year and a half ago when we first announced that everyone’s favorite local LA eatery, Tender Greens, was opening at the PacMutual building at Pershing Square near 6th and Olive. Checking in with Tender Greens for an update, we learn why it’s still not open yet. There have been some unforeseen challenges pertaining to the space—issues with grading and historical restrictions, for instance—that have set back the opening date by over half a year. The casual and health-conscious restaurant originally from Culver City with now 18 locations in California (LA, OC, SD, and SF) was supposed to open by late 2013. Now if construction continues to run more smoothly, the new updated timeline for opening should be next month in August.

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Breaking: NYC Hotel Developer, Sydell Group, Buys Commercial Exchange in Downtown LA

The historic 1924 Commercial Exchange building has been purchased by New York hotel developer Sydell Group with plans to turn it either into a boutique hotel or hostel

The historic 1924 Commercial Exchange building has been purchased by New York hotel developer Sydell Group with plans to turn it either into a boutique hotel or hostel

A bright, bright future awaits the historic 1924 Commercial Exchange building in Downtown LA that’s been sitting empty for well over two decades. What an interesting history this building has as it was once pretty much split in half and moved to make way for a street widening project in the 1930s. Can you imagine a beautiful and irreplaceable building like this left to basically rot for so long? Well, our worries can now be put to rest. A very prominent New York hotel developer, the Sydell Group, has successfully purchased the historic edifice located at 8th and Olive catercorner to the exciting Whole Foods mixed-use project opening in 2015.

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Update: AEG Leases Entire Desmond Building, Will Add Over 500 Employees to South Park Downtown LA

Vacant for decades, the historic Desmond building in South Park will now be restored as the exciting new headquarters for AEG's ticketing and live entertainment divisions, adding over 500 employees

Vacant for decades, the historic Desmond building in South Park will now be restored as the exciting new headquarters for AEG’s ticketing and live entertainment divisions, adding over 500 employees

Less than two weeks ago, DTLA Rising broke the very exciting news that AEG had signed a lease taking over the entire Desmond Building in Downtown LA’s rapidly growing South Park district. The beautiful historic structure built in 1916 sat empty and dilapidated, sadly, for many decades even though it sits directly across the street from multiple high-end residential buildings including the South Group condos (Elleven, Luma, Evo) and the Met Lofts. But now the Desmond will be getting the much needed TLC it deserves when AEG — owner of nearby Staples Center and LA Live — relocates their ticketing and live entertainment divisions into the Desmond come next year.

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New Renderings Reveal Lots of Ped-Friendly Retail Coming to 888 S Hope in Downtown LA

New renderings of the new 888 S Hope tower rising in South Park show lots of retail that will help activate this stretch of Hope Street in Downtown LA (Photo: RTKL)

New renderings of the new 888 S Hope tower rising in South Park show lots of retail that will help activate this stretch of Hope Street in Downtown LA (Photo: RTKL)

It’s been three months since construction first began on the parking structure that will be attached to the new and exciting 888 S Hope, a brand new 33-story residential tower about to break ground later this year in burgeoning South Park. Being developed by LA-based CIM Group, new renderings from RTKL — the architect firm designing the project — show lots of retail space on the ground floor of both the parking structure and the tower itself. As you can see in the renderings (above and below), ample retail space will face Hope Street and wrap around the tower along 9th Street bordering the upcoming boutique Empire Hotel.

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Downtown LA’s Golden Boy Building Getting New High-End Gym Called “City Athletix”

A new high-end fitness gym called City Athletix is opening this fall in the Golden Boy building in Downtown LA

A new high-end fitness gym called City Athletix is opening this fall in the Golden Boy building in Downtown LA

Located at Wilshire/Hope in the heart of the Financial District is the 12-story 626 Wilshire office building also known as the Golden Boy building because it was purchased in 2004 by famed boxer Oscar de la Hoya. Now appropriately enough, a new high-end boutique gym called City Athletix will be taking over the entire ground floor retail space of the building totaling 12,000 square feet. Replacing what used to be a credit union branch, a Sprint cell phone store, and a wine and spirit shop, City Athletix will be offering members a high-end fitness experience — towel service will be included — with more approachable prices.

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Breaking: AEG Worldwide Has Leased Entire Desmond Building in Downtown LA

The long vacant Desmond Building has a bright future ahead as AEG Worldwide has apparently leased the entire building to become its new headquarters in Downtown LA

The long vacant Desmond Building has a bright future ahead as AEG Worldwide has apparently leased the entire building to become its new headquarters in Downtown LA

This just in: AEG Worldwide has signed a long-term lease to take over purportedly the entire long-vacant Desmond Building located in Downtown LA’s South Park district at 11th/Hope, just a stone’s throw from the AEG empire of Staples Center, LA Live, and now even the LA Convention Center that they manage. Specific details aren’t known yet as an official press release will be coming out soon, but the building will apparently be the new consolidated headquarters for AEG Worldwide, which is currently located in separate offices in South Park, including inside LA Live itself. A brand new sixth floor will be added to the top of the roof that will bring the total square footage to about 80,000+ square feet. There were also initially plans to add a rooftop bar to the building.

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Cafe Crepe of Santa Monica to Open Second Location in Union Station Downtown LA

Cafe Crepe opening later this year will replace the long shuttered Union Bagel space inside Union Station in Downtown LA

Cafe Crepe opening later this year will replace the long shuttered Union Bagel space inside Union Station in Downtown LA

More eateries are coming to Union Station in Downtown LA! A very popular crepe restaurant from Santa Monica located on Third Street Promenade called Cafe Crepe (they’re originally from Canada with locations in Vancouver and Toronto) will be opening later this year taking over a space once occupied by Union Bagel, which shuttered three years ago in 2011. According to a manager at Cafe Crepe I spoke to, the lease was just signed and they are hoping to open before the end of this year. The new eatery will sit directly across from the much revered fine dining Traxx Restaurant, which has been operating since 1997. Cafe Crepe will also have patio seating like Traxx and add to a growing number of new businesses opening inside LA’s landmark train station including T & Y Bakery opening soon.

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Swedish Invasion Continues: Roy & Son Barbershop to Open Inside Austere in Downtown LA

A new Swedish barbershop, Roy & Son, is opening their first US location inside the Austere retail showroom at 9th/Hill in Downtown LA (Photo: Austere)

A new Swedish barbershop, Roy & Son, is opening their first US location inside the Austere retail showroom at 9th/Hill in Downtown LA (Photo: Austere)

It started off with Acne Studios in December of last year. The upscale Swedish fashion line opened their global flagship store at the corner of 9th and Broadway on the ground floor of the beautiful turquoise art deco Eastern Columbia building. Then just last month in early May, another upscale retailer called Austere opened a block away at the corner of 9th and Hill on the ground floor of a historic parking structure in a 5,000 square foot space once an old auto showroom. Austere is as much a showroom as it is retail, according to its owner Fredrik Carlstrom. The store features sleek Scandinavian designs ranging from furniture to clothes and even a sparkling white Volvo SUV parked in the middle of the cavernous raw space with exposed concrete ceilings. Now, the much-welcomed Swedish invasion into Downtown LA continues with a soon-to-open barbershop called Roy & Son.

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Come Walk with Me: Brigham Yen Shows the LA Register What It’s Like to be a Pedestrian in Downtown LA

As Downtown LA continues to revitalize, the urban center of LA is becoming more vibrant with pedestrian activity, a phenomenon many still are unaware of happening to Los Angeles

As Downtown LA continues to revitalize, the urban center of LA is becoming more vibrant with pedestrian activity, a phenomenon many still are unaware of happening to Los Angeles

Just last week, I gave a staff writer, Bill Johnson, at the Los Angeles Register a 4 hour walking tour of Downtown LA. Yes, we actually walked for those who don’t believe it’s possible in “car-centric” Los Angeles. The walk was not only long but interesting all along the way. I love giving these walking tours because it’s always my goal to surprise those who aren’t familiar with downtown not only all the exciting changes happening but also that it’s completely possible to be a pedestrian in Los Angeles when a city has a centralized urban center that’s filled with things to do and see. Simple concept, yet so many were/are skeptical it could ever happen here in sprawly LA. To read the full tour described by Johnson, please check out the LA Register article by clicking here.

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New Watering Hole, Beelman’s Pub, Brings Affordable Eats & Drinks to Spring St in Downtown LA

Beelman's Pub now open at 6th/Spring aiming to be the neighborhood spot offering an affordable menu for local downtown residents (Photo: Brigham Yen)

Beelman’s Pub now open at 6th/Spring aiming to be the neighborhood spot offering an affordable menu for local downtown residents (Photo: Brigham Yen)

Beelman’s Pub, the latest venture from ACME Hospitality Group, the purveyors behind the Spring St. Bar and King Eddy Saloon among others, is shaping up to be a solid addition to Spring Street. Replacing the relatively short lived Coffee Bar, Beelman’s simple yet approachable menu offers a new spin on traditional pub fare in a fun, communal setting. The pub’s sizable outdoor patio is one of its best features. Open and inviting, it embraces the street in a way that Coffee Bar never did and is punctuated by nice details including brick interior walls, overhead string lights, and a walk-up service window for residents out for a stroll with their dogs. The equally welcoming interior includes an expansive bar, vintage hanging pendant lamps, and spacious green leather booths.

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Grove of 100-Year Old Olive Trees Now Planted at New Broad Museum Plaza in Downtown LA

A new grove of fifteen 100-year old Barouni olive trees from Northern California has been shipped down as part of the new Broad plaza on Bunker Hill in Downtown LA

A new grove of fifteen 100-year old Barouni olive trees from Northern California has been shipped down as part of the new Broad plaza on Bunker Hill in Downtown LA

Bunker Hill is shaping up to be one of the most culturally powerful centers in the country. A centralized cultural collection along Grand Ave consisting of the LA Music Center, MOCA, and the Colburn School will finally be joined by The Broad contemporary art museum — a cultural gem in the making now under construction next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall and slated to open sometime in 2015 after a frustrating 15-month delay. When completed next year, The Broad will house billionaire Eli Broad’s contemporary art collection with over 2,000 pieces of art from the likes of Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Cindy Sherman, and Ed Ruscha. But beyond the amazing art itself, it’s also just as much about making Downtown LA an enjoyable existence for the pedestrians of Los Angeles. The Broad will be adding an exciting outdoor plaza that will make Grand Ave more pedestrian-oriented, and ultimately, help make Downtown LA a cohesive walkable community — the urban oasis Los Angeles yearns for.

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Striking New Mixed-User Designed by LOHA Architects Coming to Arts District in Downtown LA

(Click to enlarge) A new 5-story mixed-use project with 240 live/work units called "Industrial" is slated to rise near 7th/Alameda in SoArDi (Photo: LOHA Architects)

(Click to enlarge) A new 5-story mixed-use project with 240 live/work units called “Industrial” is slated to rise near 7th/Alameda in SoArDi (Photo: LOHA Architects)

We already know the Arts District is hot on the development radar in Downtown LA. Over in NoArDi (aka North Arts District), several very large projects in the making are transforming the once desolate industrial warehouse district into an active and vibrant residential and artistic community. The massive One Santa Fe project with 438 apartments and a 99-seat community theater along with the MegaToys Lofts with 320 apartments — both under construction — will be adding thousands of new residents in the coming years. And the exciting recent announcement of Hauser Wirth & Schimmel converting an old flour mill on 3rd Street into a 100,000 square foot art center complex — befitting of the district’s namesake — is slated to open in 2016. But NoArDi shouldn’t have all the fun. Now SoArDi (aka South Arts District) will be the next to receive a large mixed-use project near 7th/Alameda just a stone’s throw from fashion juggernaut Alameda Square (headquarters to American Apparel, Splendid/Ella Moss, and Groceries Apparel).

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