Beautiful historic office buildings have been converted to lofts now filled with full time residents
For as long as anyone can remember, Downtown Los Angeles has been a 9-to-5 CBD. Workers drove into downtown, filling in the new skyscrapers built in the 80s in the Financial District, and a mass exodus ensued at 5pm. After employees quickly dashed back home to the suburbs, Downtown LA became a veritable ghost town inhabited only by the entrenched social dysfunction of Skid Row. Downtown LA was forlorn and the Historic Core–bounded by 3rd St, Los Angeles St, Olympic Blvd, and Hill St–sat hollow without any sign of hope for a brighter future.
I remember those days when Downtown LA seemed beyond any chance of repair. On occasion as a high schooler, I would drive through Downtown LA, touring an area that seemed utterly fascinating, with beautiful architecture and a true urban city grid–a treasure–yet completely ignored. Our city’s heart was essentially dead. And moving back to LA after studying at UC Berkeley where I would frequently venture into San Francisco’s lively urban core, I dreamed of LA resuscitating our own urban heart back to life.
Fast forward to 2011, and my dreams are coming true. LA’s Historic Core (aka “Old Town Los Angeles”) is now becoming a bona fide neighborhood with thousands of residents that have moved in over the last decade. Beautiful historic buildings after historic buildings have been converted to lofts and condos and have become the solid foundation for revitalization.
I took many of these pictures during the last art walk, which happens on the second Thursday of the month. They give us a glimpse into the future of Downtown LA with streets filled with shops and pedestrians, and the possibilities of accomplishing the Holy Grail of LA, restoring the heartbeat back to our city’s urban core.
Night Toast @ 653 S. Spring St.
New neighborhood cafe Night Toast owner, Yani, greets girl on bike
LA Cafe @ 639 S. Spring St.
Business has been so brisk lately that LA Cafe is now open 24 hours on Spring St
Coffee Bar @ 600 S. Spring St.
Coffee Bar patio filled with onlookers enjoying people watching
New stores in LA's Historic Core are now attracting more people
Emperory @ 600 S. Spring St.
You know a place has "arrived" when a Chinese foot massage parlor opens up shop!
SixHundred @ 600 S. Spring St.
A DJ sets up outside Six Hundred clothing retailer on Spring St for art walk
Six Hundred clothing store sells trendy attire appealing to the local taste
Six Hundred store associate Kelly Love says she "loves the new Downtown LA"
Six Hundred store mannequin
Stanton James @ 600 S. Spring St.
Stanton James clothing retailer has opened up at the corner of 6th/Spring
Stanton James sells both women's and men's independent designer clothing from around the world
Inside Stanton James clothing store
Round 2 LA @ 600 S. Spring St.
Used But Not Abused clothing store on 6th Street
Designers at a fraction of the cost at Used But Not Abused
A peek inside Used But Not Abused
Salon 6 @ 548 S. Spring St.
New local independent businesses from salons to juice bars to clothing retailers have given LA's Historic Core a new sense of community
KapSoul @ 548 S. Spring St.
KapSoul on 6th St sells DTLA T-shirts (I purchased one of course!)
Spring Street MAC @ 600 S. Spring St.
Spring Street MAC has everything for your Apple needs
Syrup & City Grill @ 611 S. Spring St.
New restaurants have popped up on Spring St
LA's Historic Core is getting its heartbeat back
This scene would have been unthinkable just several years ago
The Falls @ 626 S. Spring St.
The Falls is one of the newer bars/lounges to open up on Spring St that has become a local hotspot
This retail space at 5th/Spring will become one of the largest indie bookstores in LA at 10,000 SF appropriately called "The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles"
The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles @ 453 S. Spring St.
The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles will become one of the largest independent bookstores in LA when it reopens in a few months at 5th/Spring
Buzz Wine Beer Shop @ 460 S. Spring St.
Buzz is a new wine and beer store with one of the widest selections in the city and will open up at 5th/Spring in late spring/early summer
Bolt Barbers @ 460 S. Spring St.
Bolt Barbers has become not only a place to get your haircut but a local hangout
Rosslyn Lofts @ 451 S. Main St.
The Rosslyn Lofts offers affordable living in Downtown LA
(Sub)Urban Home @ 101 W. 5th St.
(Sub)Urban Home sells modern furniture at 5th/Main
Art by Kinski Gallo at (Sub)Urban Home
Giant murals add spice to the urban landscape
Cotrutza Fine Art @ 446 S. Main St.
Galleries galore have popped up all over the Historic Core over the past several years paving the way for urban revitalization
LA Lofts in Old Bank District
The Old Bank District at 4th/Main is where it all began back in 1999
Pete’s Cafe @ 400 S. Main St.
Cafes with patio seating are activating sidewalks
Blends @ 125 W. 4th St.
These were some of the first retail stores to open in Downtown LA, like Blends, here on 4th St near Main
Spring Street Park
A new urban park called "Spring Street Park" will replace this parking lot providing much needed green space (construction starts in August 2011)
Silo Vodka Lounge @ 221 W. 7th St.
The new Silo Vodka Lounge opens on June 1 on the ground floor of the Haas Building at 7th/Broadway
Los Angeles Brewing Company @ 750 S. Broadway
Broadway is the next frontier as Los Angeles Brewing Company is slated to open at 8th/Broadway