Monthly Archives: January 2012

Industriel Restaurant Plans to Open by March 2012 in Downtown LA

Industriel replaces Carl's Jr and is slated to open within the next month or two contingent on passing the city's tough inspection process

It’s been exactly one year since Industriel was announced to replace Carl’s Jr at the corner of 6th and Grand on the ground floor of the historic Milano Lofts building. Then last October, the dark metallic “Industriel signs” were installed over the front door (way before opening) giving us a sneak peek at what was to come. Now, the signs have been lit up at night and new black and white posters have gone up over the front windows.

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Walmart Express Rumored to be Coming to Chinatown in Downtown LA

Walmart's new urban concept called "Walmart Express" is rumored to be looking in Chinatown in Downtown LA

Late last year, a source informed me that a new urban-Walmart concept called “Walmart Express” was looking to open one of its first West Coast locations somewhere in Downtown LA. This new urban concept would be a lot smaller than their usual big box locations that are as large as 185,000 square feet–try a mere 15,000 square feet according to the WSJ.

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Clark’s Gallery Now Open in the Financial District in Downtown LA

Clark's Gallery recently opened for business and is located by Wilshire/Grand Ave in the Financial District in Downtown LA

Back in Nov 2011, I posted about the arrival of Clark’s Gallery in the Financial District replacing the DowntownLAGallery, which apparently used to be a Jack in the Box fast food restaurant sometime in the 90s. Located by Wilshire/Grand Ave directly next to popular hang out spot Casey’s Irish Pub and not far from the future Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Clark’s Gallery is now open after relocating from its former location near the Bradbury Building in the Biddy Mason Park.

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Downtown LA’s Water Grill Seafood Restaurant Reopens for Dinner on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012

The newly remodeled Water Grill reopens for business this Tuesday (Jan 24, 2012) for dinner at 5 pm

It was less than two weeks ago that I got a sneak peek of all the construction going on inside the Water Grill, located in the heart of LA’s financial district. The seafood restaurant’s interior was being transformed from the dated 90’s decor it was well-known for since it first opened in 1991 to an updated classic retro vintage design that pulled from the restaurant’s original art deco elements.

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Downtown LA’s 23-Story Marriott Courtyard and Residence Inn to Break Ground in March 2012

The 23-story Marriott Courtyard and Residence Inn (on the right) is slated to break ground in March 2012 across from the Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott at LA Live (Photo: CCA via DT News)

Earlier this month, some newer renderings surfaced of Downtown LA’s next ground up hotel, the 23-story Marriott Courtyard and Residence Inn by LA Live. And now another rendering courtesy of the Central City Association (via Downtown News) gives us another perspective on how the new hotel tower will interact with LA Live and the rest of South Park. The newest rendering is a sea change from the ugly initial rendering released back in April 2011.

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Fourth Starbucks to Open in Downtown LA’s South Park District

Starbucks has leased about 1,600 SF at 9th and Flower in South Park

Back in August 2011, I reported that Chase Bank was aggressively making inroads into the Downtown LA market by putting, what seemed like, ATMs eveywhere (good for those who bank with Chase avoiding ATM fees). One of the locations that Chase was planning on opening a branch at–the ground floor corner space at the 14-story Skyline Condos at 9th and Flower–fell through. Instead, two sources have confirmed that Starbucks has signed a lease for approximately 1,600 square feet.

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Global Architect Giant SOM Returning to Los Angeles with Corporate Headquarters in Downtown LA

Global architect giant SOM returns to Los Angeles as Downtown LA revitalization continues to centralize and tame the sprawling region

After two other architect firms recently opened in Downtown LA (Gensler and SAA both at City National Plaza), I had a hunch that more architecture firms would follow the same trend and open downtown, but I couldn’t have asked for a more prolific or prestigious one than SOM (Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill). According to The Architects Newspaper, SOM will open a Los Angeles studio in Downtown LA by February 2012 (next month) spearheaded by three former AECOM (also based in Downtown LA) architects: Michael Mann, Paul Danna, and Jose Palacios.

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The Oscar Academy Awards Show May Relocate to Downtown LA from Hollywood

The Academy Awards is in discussions with AEG to relocate the Oscars to LA Live

The Los Angeles Times reports that AEG (owner of LA Live/Staples Center) and the Academy Awards are negotiating behind closed doors at this point, but there may still be a chance that the movie industry’s most prestigious awards ceremony will stay in Hollywood if a deal cannot be reached. Apparently, the 10-year lease with CIM Group (the owners of the Kodak Theater) is coming up and now cheaper rent is being sought by the Academy.

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Water Grill Will Reopen End of January with New Look in Downtown LA

A new look and logo, updated menu, and $1.5 million renovation is aimed at keeping Water Grill relevant as Downtown LA continues to rapidly evolve

Yesterday, I got a chance to take a sneak peek inside the work-in-progress and construction that’s actively transforming one of Downtown LA’s most venerated restaurants, Water Grill, from a dated 90’s decor to an updated retro vintage look that successfully manages to pull from the restaurant’s original art deco elements.

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Ross Dress For Less Leases 39,000 SF in Historic Woolworth Building on Broadway in Downtown LA

Ross Dress for Less will replace the former long-gone Foot Locker in the historic Woolworth Building on Broadway

A press release today from LA Councilman Jose Huizar’s office announces the arrival of discount giant Ross Dress for Less into Downtown LA’s nascent retail scene with a planned opening in early 2013. The new Ross will take over 39,000 SF of retail space consisting of the first floor and basement within the 1920 historic Woolworth Building (a former Foot Locker store) and according to Huizar’s press release, “Grand historic staircases are being restored and modern amenities are being added to the design to complement the existing historic fabric of the building, creating a unique urban Downtown model for the national retailer.”

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New Marriott Courtyard and Residence Inn Will Add 393 Hotel Rooms to South Park in Downtown LA

An updated rendering of the 23-story Marriott Hotel tower across from LA Live slated to break ground in March 2012 (Photo: CRA LA)

A reader by the name of Patrick Z sends in these updated renderings he spotted from the CRA website of a dual brand combo of Marriott hotels in one 23-story high rise–including a 175-room Marriott Courtyard and 218-room Residence Inn by Marriott totaling 393 rooms–that is slated to break ground this year across from the mega-complex LA Live, which will add even more pedestrian energy to a growing entertainment district. The developer for the project is Portland-based Williams/Dame & Associates.

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Equinox Gym Leases 33,000 SF at CitiGroup Center in Downtown LA

Two sources today have informed me that Equinox Fitness Gym has finally found a place to setup shop in Downtown LA. This is exciting news for those who are fans of Equinox and who either live and/or work downtown. The upscale national gym chain that recently acquired Sports Club/LA has signed a lease at the CitiGroup Center at 5th and Flower in the heart of the Financial District. Downtown LA will be Equinox’s 14th location in the LA metro and will be another great amenity added to Downtown LA that will help activate the corner of 5th and Flower even after work hours as many office workers and residents nearby will undoubtedly be headed there to workout.

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Ideas for Downtown LA: Redesign 888 International Tower Plaza into a Pedestrian-Friendly Open Space

The 888 International Tower plaza at 9th and Figueroa is currently a barren and inhospitable space, but a simple redesign could completely transform it into a great open space for the public, adding value to the community

We all know how scarce good public spaces are in the Los Angeles region. A metropolis that rapidly expanded after the invention and subsequent democratization of the private automobile, Los Angeles is a decade or more behind when it comes to catering our city to pedestrians instead of drivers. Our roads and highways have been congested and clogged, but our sidewalks have been empty for decades, and as a result, it is no wonder why walking in LA is about as enjoyable as a visit to a dentist.

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Downtown LA’s Urban Sportswear Holy Grail Expands with New “Colors” Retail Concept

Colors is a new retail store in South Park selling vintage sportswear and new caps

One of the most popular sports and urban street wear boutiques in Los Angeles, The Holy Grail, also happens to sit on the southern edge of South Park in Downtown LA along a still-developing Pico Blvd, currently separated from the bulk of downtown’s skyscrapers by a vast sea of surface parking lots (ripe for developments when the timing is right). Selling mostly consignment sneakers, including some of the most coveted varieties like the Air Jordan 11, The Holy Grail has become a success story being one of the first pioneers in Downtown LA’s budding retail scene.

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Il Mare Italian Restaurant Opening Soon in Downtown LA’s Burgeoning South Park

Il Mare Italian Restaurant will open soon in Downtown LA's burgeoning South Park district, and a stone's throw from LA Live/Staples Center

Back in July 2011, I spotted the initial build-out of a new Italian seafood restaurant called Il Mare, located in the burgeoning South Park district in Downtown LA. The new Il Mare will be joining a growing list of other indie restaurants that have opened in South Park such as Bottle Rock, Arashi Sushi, and the 3½-star rated Rivera. Now it’s about 5 months later and it looks like Il Mare will be opening any week now (contingent on passing all inspections). Construction of the interior of the restaurant is complete and railings for the outdoor patio were added for alfresco dining.

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