DTLA Dark Nights Event is Back at L.A. LIVE in Downtown LA!

Dark Nights

Downtown Dark Nights at L.A. LIVE

DTLA’s best night of the month is back on Friday, October 3 with the same awesome $5 food and drink deals, $5 parking and even more live entertainment! Team LA will be having a huge sale again featuring 40% off most items and added to the mix is a curated artisanal marketplace made up of local vendors selling handcrafted goods.

Participating L.A. LIVE restaurants include: Katsuya, Rock ‘N Fish, The Farm of Beverly Hills, Lucky Strike Lanes, Red Mango, Rosa Mexicano, Tom’s Urban, Smashburger, Lawry’s Carvery, The Mixing Room, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill and The Conga Room.

Grab your friends and start the weekend off right at Dark Nights!

For more info, please click here.

Daiso Japan Opens Large “$1.50 Store” in Little Tokyo Galleria in Downtown LA

Customers shopping on the first day of opening for the new Daiso in Little Tokyo on Sat 9/27

Customers shopping on the first day of opening for the new Daiso in Little Tokyo on Sat 9/27

Another reason to head over to the Little Tokyo Galleria at 3rd/Alameda, which is going from a once completely dead mall to a fun and interesting spot to visit again for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Adding to that is a brand new Daiso Japan store that opened this past weekend on the first floor of the 3-story shopping center. At 8,300 square feet large, it’s packed with just about everything you can imagine! For those unfamiliar with Daiso, it’s basically like a Japanese version of LA’s 99 Cents Only store except most items are $1.50 at Daiso. And pretty much all the products in the store are also “Daiso branded,” which includes just about everything you can think of from common household items to office and school supplies, stuff for the bathroom and kitchen, products for pets, handy storage containers, holiday decorations, to useful electronic items like mini USB cables. Oh yeah, and there’s also a pretty sizeable snack section stocked with Asian goodies.

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SF’s Philz Coffee Coming to 8th and Hope in Downtown LA

Philz Coffee from San Francisco is opening a new location here in Downtown LA at 8th/Hope across from The Bloc

Philz Coffee from San Francisco is opening a new location here in Downtown LA at 8th/Hope across from The Bloc

Avid coffee drinkers rejoice! Voted “Best Coffee in San Francisco” by SF Weekly readers, Philz Coffee will be opening a new location here in Downtown LA at the new luxury apartment tower 8th+Hope. Although rumors have hinted that Philz Coffee was coming downtown, the lease was just officially signed today according to the commercial listing agents Justin Weiss and Lee Shapiro of Kennedy Wilson. The new cafe will take over 1,700 square feet of space at the corner of 8th and Hope Street with plenty of awesome outdoor patio seating within the building’s corner alcove (where the red arrow is pointing at) that will really help activate this once desolate intersection.

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Brigham Yen on KCET: “Trendy Grand Central Market in Downtown LA Losing Character?”

SoCal Connected just aired this great episode about Grand Central Market on KCET last night. Reporter Nic Cha Kim chats with the local downtown community (including myself) as well as vendors within the historic food hall (Eggslut, Belcampo, etc), asking some pertinent questions like: How do the new (relatively more expensive) vendors affect Grand Central Market and what does it mean for Downtown LA?

Check out the video above and learn more about Downtown LA’s historic 1917 Grand Central Market on KCET’s website.

Breaking: Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts Coming to Wilshire Grand in Downtown LA

A new rendering of the Wilshire Grand Tower revealed with a new Intercontinental Hotel opening in 2017 as part of the project (Photo: AC Martin)

A new rendering of the Wilshire Grand Tower revealed with a new Intercontinental Hotel opening in 2017 as part of the project (Photo: AC Martin)

Long anticipated, today it was finally revealed what hotel brand would take over the upper portion of Downtown LA’s newest and most exciting ground-up development in years — the Wilshire Grand Tower. The new hotel will be an Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts with 900 rooms. It’ll be the first hotel on the west coast to have a sky lobby (on the 70th floor) and will be considered the largest Intercontinental in the Americas according to a press release.

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Earthbar Now Open at PacMutual Building in Downtown LA

A new Earthbar has opened on 6th Street (near Tender Greens) in the PacMutual Building in Downtown LA's Financial District

A new Earthbar has opened on 6th Street (near Tender Greens) in the PacMutual Building in Downtown LA’s Financial District

Earthbar is now officially open at the PacMutual Building on 6th Street in Downtown LA’s Financial District. For those who aren’t familiar with Earthbar, the easiest way to think about them is a wellness brand that promotes a healthy diet and lifestyle. The store menu offers a wide selection of fresh smoothies like Muscle Up (packed with protein) and Green Detox (made with bananas, pineapple, hemp milk and raw kale). In addition to smoothies, there’s also acai bowls, “concentrated liquid nutrition” shots, and Superfood Coffee that adds goji, rooibos and honey bush to coffee made with Arabica beans. At the front of the store, there’s a grab-and-go section offering pressed juices and pre-made packaged foods and snacks (like spirulina-cashew bars). To top off the health kick, there’s a large selection of vitamins and other supplements located next to the pre-made meals.

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Coming Soon: New Liberty Travel “Hyperstore” to Open in Downtown LA

A new Liberty Travel hyperstore inspired by Apple stores is slated to open early next year in Downtown LA's Financial District

A new Liberty Travel hyperstore inspired by Apple stores is slated to open early next year in Downtown LA’s Financial District

Brisbane, Australia-based travel agency, Flight Centre USA (FC USA), is planning to open a “hyperstore” of its Liberty Travel brand in Downtown LA by early next year. This new exciting concept will bring to Los Angeles a different and more dynamic way of interacting with your travel agency. The very first hyperstore opened in New York in late 2012 with a 10,000 square foot space on Madison Ave. The second hyperstore opened in Boston in late 2013. Los Angeles will be the first west coast city to open a Liberty Travel hyperstore upgrading from its current smaller store location near 7th and Flower in the Financial District.

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Ugly Rite Aid Store Gets Pretty Makeover in Downtown LA, Introduces Wellness Concept

The Rite Aid at 7th/Hope in Downtown LA has completed a significant remodeling job transforming it into the company's new "Wellness concept" creating a higher quality shopping experience

The Rite Aid at 7th/Hope in Downtown LA has completed a significant remodeling job transforming it into the company’s new “Wellness concept” creating a higher quality shopping experience

Drugstores are ubiquitous and a daily part of life in most large city centers in America. Go to New York and you won’t be more than a block or two away from a Duane Reade store. Go to Chicago and the same is true for Walgreens (which actually owns Duane Reade). Even internationally speaking in Taipei (where my dad lives), you’re never too far from a Watsons store. Here in our growing Downtown LA, we have two Rite Aid stores — one at 7th/Hope and one at 5th/Broadway — and both stores have been a complete let down, unfortunately. The one at 5th and Broadway has been a huge thorn in the side of downtown revitalization as residents nearby have continuously complained about the store’s shoddy appearance and lack of concern toward the “shady activities” that take place right outside their front door. Some have even called it a “cesspool.” That’s why it’s so exciting for me to find out that some real positive changes are finally coming. In fact, half of it is already here. The Rite Aid store at 7th/Hope, which was the lesser of two evils, has just completed a, dare I say, beautiful remodeling job that has changed the shopping experience there completely.

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Downtown LA Hall of Justice of Charles Manson Infamy to Reopen Early 2015

The 1925 Hall of Justice, which once held the infamous Charles Manson, is slated to reopen in early 2015 after an extensive $234 million retrofit and modernization project

The 1925 Hall of Justice, which once held the infamous Charles Manson, is slated to reopen in early 2015 after an extensive $234 million retrofit and modernization project

One of the most magnificent civic structures in all of LA is close to reopening after being shut down for two decades since the 1994 Northridge earthquake left the building red tagged due to severe damage. Fortunately, the 1925 Hall of Justice designed in the Beaux Arts style was not demolished. Instead, the county-owned structure located in LA’s civic center — once the headquarters for the sheriff, district attorney, and coroner — was saved after almost a decade of fundraising efforts spearheaded by former Sheriff Lee Baca that started in 2004.

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Topaz: New Mixed-User Breaks Ground in Historic Core in Downtown LA

A rendering of Topaz as seen from Main Street with ground floor retail and corner/penthouse units having balconies (Photo: TSK)

A rendering of Topaz as seen from Main Street with ground floor retail and corner/penthouse units having balconies (Photo: TSK)

A rendering of Topaz on the Los Angeles Street side with a large "light curtain" seen in the center cutout of the building (Photo: TSK)

A rendering of Topaz on the Los Angeles Street side with a large “light curtain” seen in the center cutout of the building (Photo: TSK)

With the exception of the Medallion apartments at 4th/Main, there have been no ground-up market rate housing developments built in the Historic Core in Downtown LA. Pretty much all new lofts and condos in the Historic Core that have come on the market over the last decade have been conversion projects taking advantage of the adaptive reuse ordinance. All that’s about to change, however, as numerous high-rise projects have been proposed in the Historic Core that will be the next evolution of Downtown LA’s urban revitalization, filling in all those anti-pedestrian surface parking lots. We won’t have to wait too long for some action because the exciting new chapter for the Historic Core begins now with Topaz, a new mixed-user, that broke ground last Friday near 6th/Main.

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Big Sugar Bakeshop Now Open at Pegasus Apartments in Downtown LA

Mary Odson, the owner of Big Sugar Bakeshop, opened her second location in the heart of the Financial District downtown

Mary Odson, the owner of Big Sugar Bakeshop, opened her second location in the heart of the Financial District downtown

Back in April, we were excited to announce that one of the most popular bakeries from The Valley — Studio City to be exact — was opening at the beautiful Welton Becket-designed Pegasus Apartments in Downtown LA. Four months later, Big Sugar Bakeshop opened last week near the corner of Wilshire and Flower next door to Caffe Primo. The petite 600 square foot space (but with ultra-high ceilings!) is packed with yummy goodness that goes beyond just cupcakes where you’ll find favorites like red velvet and the doughnut muffin. In fact, Big Sugar has established a reputation since its inception in 2006 for being a “one stop shop” where you can pick up not only a cake, but a few more cupcakes and cookies as well as greeting cards and other small gift items. In addition, Groundwork coffee is served that’s been perfect for early morning office workers who work nearby.

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Downtown LA’s Watermarke Tower Sells for Record Breaking $160.5 Million

The Watermarke Tower at 9th/Flower in South Park was sold to ASB Real Estate Investments for a record breaking price of $160.5 million

The Watermarke Tower at 9th/Flower in South Park was sold to ASB Real Estate Investments for a record breaking price of $160.5 million

We all know the Downtown LA real estate market is already hot, but it just got way hotter in here. Escrow closed yesterday on Watermarke Properties’ trophy property, Watermarke Tower, in South Park selling for a record breaking price of $160.5 million. Purchased by Bethesda, MD-based ASB Real Estate Investments (they also just bought a huge property in the Arts District), the 35-story luxury apartment high-rise with 214 units is apparently the most expensive apartment community sold in the state of California — ever. To be specific, it is one of, if not the state’s most expensive trade based on a per unit basis coming in at approximately $750,000 for each unit. The deal was brokered by HFF Managing Director Mark Peterson.

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Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse Replacing Roy’s in Downtown LA

The delectable high-end Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chão from Sao Paulo, is opening in what used to be the Roy's Hawaiian Fusion space at 8th/Figueroa

The delectable high-end Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chão from Sao Paulo, is opening in what used to be the Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion space at 8th/Figueroa

About a year and a half ago, I celebrated my birthday at Fogo de Chão in Beverly Hills. It was my first time there and I was really impressed by how good it was as a meat lover. And because I’m always trying to get more businesses to open in Downtown LA, I just had to ask if they were looking to open another location in downtown! Funny enough, the manager of the restaurant was very open with me and told me that they were planning to open around Staples Center and LA Live. He gave no timeline but said they were definitely interested. Well, a year and a half later, they have finally found their perfect spot not too far from where they wanted to be right at 8th/Figueroa in the Financial District replacing the shuttered Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion space next door to Local Table.

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Brigham Yen on FOX 11: Downtown LA High-Rise Boom, Broadway Road Diet, Trader Joe’s Coming?

Yesterday was so much fun. I was invited by FOX 11 to come on their noon show to talk about Downtown LA (my favorite subject of course) and all the newest exciting things happening that are putting our once ignored urban center back on the map. Check out the video above and here are the topics we covered:

  • New high-rises proposed in the Historic Core
  • New developments blocking sidewalks an issue for pedestrians
  • Broadway’s amazing road diet and pedestrian plazas
  • Retail continues with Macy’s Plaza $180 million makeover
  • And Trader Joe’s rumors!

Thank you again so much to FOX 11 News!

Meet 8th+Hope in Downtown LA: South Park’s New Gleaming 22-Story Glass Apartment High-Rise

8th+Hope is a new gleaming glass tower in South Park adding 290 rental units to the downtown market

8th+Hope is a new gleaming glass tower in South Park adding 290 rental units to the downtown market

Almost two years after developer Wood Partners first began construction, the new 8th+Hope apartment tower began accepting resident move-ins earlier this month in August. Designed by Atlanta-based The Preston Partnership, the modern gleaming tower clad throughout in blue-green glass rises 22 stories high and adds another 290 rental units to the market including: 1, 2, and 2½ bedrooms with square footages ranging from 707 to 1,634. Every single unit gets a private balcony. Impressive.

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