Back in October 2014, Vancouver-based Holland Partner Group purchased a 39,000 square foot parking lot for $12.5 million on the northwest corner of 8th and Spring located on the cusp of the Historic Core and Fashion District. Less than a year later, we’re now getting some exciting details being revealed about a new ground-up tower that will rise here within this burgeoning urban neighborhood.
After over 5 years of operation, LA Live began the process of refreshing its tenant mix in 2013 with the introduction of several new concepts. Offering Chinese fusion cuisine, Triple 8 China Bar & Grill (the number “8” is a lucky number in Chinese), which officially debuted on May 21st, is the latest addition and replaces the once venerable Trader Vic’s on the Olympic Blvd side of LA Live. Although Triple 8’s menu is not overly large at this stage, it offers enough variety to satisfy most tastes and is a welcome addition to LA Live’s evolving dining mix. During my recent visit, I toured the space and sampled a variety of menu offerings including xiao long bao dumplings and several delicious entrees.
CoCo Fresh brought those addictive chewy boba drinks to South Park last month opening mid-April at 11th and Hope, which has started to catch on within the neighborhood as many residents and workers nearby are beginning to discover the new boba shop (some are probably trying boba for the first time!). Now the popular Taiwanese drink, which includes teas, juices and smoothies, will be opening another store soon in a more central downtown location right across from Pershing Square.
After years of delays and construction, it’s so good to see One Santa Fe filling up not only the 438 apartments upstairs with new residents but also the retail spaces downstairs on the ground level. The quarter-mile long Michael Maltzan-designed project sitting along the train tracks by the LA River on the eastern edge of Downtown LA’s Arts District is finally opening its first new businesses providing a glimpse into the exciting new shops and restaurants (a total of 25 stores) coming to this massive mixed-use project. In late March, the very first new business to open was popular vegan eatery Cafe Gratitude (you can read our review here). And now, upscale men’s boutique Wittmore soft opened just last Friday becoming One Santa Fe’s first new fashion retailer to open.
With the transformative One Santa Fe mixed use complex now complete in the Arts District, the project is slowly beginning to welcome its ground floor commercial tenants. First onto the scene is the wildly popular Café Gratitude which will soon join a diverse range of new businesses scheduled to debut in the building over the course of the coming year. No stranger to Los Angeles, this is Café Gratitude’s third location in the region following the opening of its original SoCal outpost in Larchmont and its second locale in Venice in 2012. The new downtown space maintains a bright, modern aesthetic and is nestled in the center of the complex. Large windows facing Santa Fe Ave provide views into the kitchen and an intimate front patio softens the space while adding nice interaction with the street and complex. The real attraction, however, is the food inside.
One of Downtown LA’s more stubborn hot spots surrounding the Pershing Square subway portal replete with loitering and other illicit activities may finally get just a little less unsavory — at least that’s what we’re all hoping for. The Title Guarantee Building at 5th and Hill — an adaptive reuse project completed in 2008 with 74 lofts for rent — will be getting a brand new Starbucks taking over its ground floor leasing office catercorner to the problematic subway portal. Construction on the new Seattle coffee chain started just this past Monday according to the building’s leasing agent I spoke to. For reference, the leasing office has been relocated to the 12th floor of the Title Guarantee.
N’ice Cream, a growing local indie chain with locations mainly on the Westside, has signed on at The Bloc in Downtown LA. Already in other hot LA destinations like Santa Monica Place and Abbot Kinney in Venice, N’ice Cream will be introducing their brand new soft serve concept with freshly-made organic gelato and sorbet topped off with their hand-crafted toppings. The new dessert eatery will take over a 700 square foot location on the lower level adjacent to other exciting eateries and shops coming to the shopping center.
One of the most anticipated new projects opening later this year in Downtown LA is The Broad contemporary art museum on Bunker Hill, which will house the over 2,000-piece permanent art collection belonging to billionaire Eli Broad. As part of the infrastructural improvements to the area and to prepare for the grand opening of the museum slated for Sept 20, a new crosswalk on Grand Ave was installed in early May approximately mid-block between 2nd and 3rd Street.
As someone who is an ardent and staunch supporter of making our car-obsessed city more pedestrian oriented, I am truly uplifted to see that our city government — specifically Councilmen Mike Bonin and Jose Huizar — is finally stepping in to address the absolutely asinine “jaywalking” tickets the LAPD has been shamelessly handing out to unsuspecting pedestrians throughout Downtown LA (and other parts of LA like Koreatown) despite huge public outcry over the years. Even more egregious, these suburban-minded LAPD cops will actually set up sting operations, frequently I might add, at our busiest intersections like 7th/Figueroa during the crowded lunch rush waiting like wolves to slap anyone who steps into the crosswalk after the countdown timer begins with an unforgiving $200 ticket.
When it comes to gyms, the Financial District in Downtown LA is definitely the center of it all. If you appreciate options on where to work out, then you’re in luck. You have all the major chains like Equinox, Gold’s, 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness, and private unique clubs like LA Athletic Club and the Jonathan Club. Now, add another one to the mix, this time a completely independent brand called City Athletix that strives to be the next best gym in Downtown LA that offers an upscale experience at an affordable price.
In 2012, Chef Ricardo Zarate’s Mo-Chica opened to much fanfare on 7th Street, adding new flavors to downtown’s nascent restaurant row. After a much publicized fall from grace, Zarate shuttered Mo-Chica in late 2014 following the closure of his Westside concept Picca, leaving behind a highly desirable restaurant space in a quickly changing neighborhood. Four months later the space has been reborn as B.S. Taqueria, a casual Mexican concept with a solid menu. The B.S. Taqueria name is both a fun play on words and a reference to Chef Ray Garcia’s forthcoming sit down restaurant Broken Spanish, which will soon debut in the former Rivera space in South Park near L.A. Live.
Opening this past Friday, Pitchoun! is an exciting new French bakery cafe that brings freshly baked baguettes and croissants to Downtown LA’s Pershing Square. Located along Olive Street at the wonderfully restored PacMutual Building, customers are first greeted by an eye-catching outdoor patio filled with bright orange tables and chairs beckoning customers to sit outside. Upon entering the eatery, you are immediately transported to an intimate space somewhere in Paris.
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.
An exciting new pedestrian tunnel linking LA’s busiest subway station 7th Street/Metro Center with The Bloc in Downtown LA was approved today by Metro’s Board of Directors. The Board adopted Metro’s Planning and Program Committee’s formal recommendation presented in a prior meeting that took place recently on April 15 to authorize the funding and approval of “The Bloc/Metro Connection.” The project entails a new 12-foot tunnel underneath 7th Street that will allow transit riders to directly access The Bloc without having to come up to the street level and vice versa.
Just last week, we were treated to the wonderful news that the gorgeous-but-dilapidated Giannini Building at 7th and Olive was snapped up by NY hotel developer Sydell Group to be converted to a high-end boutique hotel most likely under their NoMad brand. Now, prepare for this. Another upscale boutique hotel is currently in the early stages of development on 7th Street just one block east from the Giannini.