One of LA’s hottest ascending designers, Jonny Cota, is relocating his flagship store, Skingraft, from its current location at the Banco Popular building in the Old Bank District to 8th/Spring on the western edge of the Fashion District. The 2,600 square foot space couldn’t be more perfect for Skingraft, and when it opens, will contribute to this growing neighborhood not far from all the action happening at 9th/Broadway. Located on the ground floor of the Great Republic Lofts across from Terroni, the new space—long and horizontal—takes up almost the entire block along 8th Street and is lined with big beautiful windows, which will be used by the store to showcase their designs.
A lot of positive attention has been showered on Broadway lately, especially near 9th/Broadway where some of the most exciting developments in LA have happened over the last year with the opening of Ace Hotel and esoteric high-end retailers we thought would never open in Downtown LA in a million years (i.e., Acne Studios, OAK NYC, Aesop, Tanner Goods, Austere, etc). But the revitalization of Grand Central Market at 3rd/Broadway is just as exciting and acts as the northern anchor to Broadway’s amazing come back. (Now we just have to fill in everything in between.) Over the last year, Grand Central Market has gone through an incredible transformation by adding a slew of new and exciting food stalls that makes the historic food hall from 1917 one of the coolest culinary hot spots in all of Southern California.
There have been some pretty amazing video tributes to Downtown LA lately, like the beautiful 4-minute time-lapse video by TimeLAX that captured the glittering urban center that is our growing and revitalizing Downtown LA. Once abandoned and left for dead, Downtown LA is once again the center of pride for Angelenos. Now, there’s another new video sent to me by a downtown resident named Ian Wood that’s upped the ante on just how amazing Downtown LA can look on camera. Wood spent 2 months filming with a flying quadcopter “that looks a bit like a mutant chicken” equipped with a GoPro camera. What he captured and compiled into another 4-minute video (coupled with perfect music from Chassol) really will knock your socks off.
It made me fall in love with Downtown LA all over again — enjoy.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Come Walk with Me: Brigham Yen Shows the LA Register What It’s Like to be a Pedestrian in Downtown LA
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.