Smart & Final (Extra?) Close to Signing Lease at 845 S Figueroa in Downtown LA

Smart & Final (Extra) is rumored to be in close talks with L&R at taking the ground floor space at a newly renovated 845 S Fig office building in the Financial District (Photo: L&R)

Although we all really do love our one true Downtown LA grocery store Ralphs Fresh Fare–so much so that all the business from downtown residents have catapulted the location to one of the highest performing stores in Southern California–downtown residents have been yearning for more grocery options. Variety is the spice of life right? And although we’re not getting a Trader Joe’s anytime soon (much to the chagrin of downtown residents), good news may still be on the horizon as several sources are informing me that LA-based grocery chain, Smart & Final, is close to signing a long-term lease at 845 S Fig in the Financial District.

You may remember back in July 2011, I broke the news that the long vacant 5-story office building known as “845 S Fig” was prepping for some exciting major aesthetic renovations. Owned by parking company L&R, the $15 million revamp project is aimed at repositioning the office building from dilapidated to Class A status.

According to Gilad Lumer of L&R, “Construction permits were pulled last week” and construction will begin in earnest this week on 845 S Fig with the “majority of visible exterior work such as the new glass curtain-wall” completed by summer 2012 with the entire project finishing up in November 2012. Lumer would not, however, confirm or deny if they were negotiating with Smart & Final but mentioned that a deal “was close to signing.”

If a deal is reached, expect a Smart & Final store of approximately 15,000 square feet out of a total ground floor space of 25,000 square feet. For those unfamiliar with Smart & Final, they’re usually considered a “bulk sales” kind of store (a non-membership warehouse grocery), akin to a much smaller version of Costco.

However, since downtown residents may not be as keen on buying in bulk as their suburban counterparts, I have a feeling we may be getting a newer concept called Smart & Final Extra. Since 2008, the company has been rolling out this newer concept that “offers roughly 4,500 more grocery items” and “carries a broader assortment of ‘everyday’ groceries such as shampoos, to-go meals and baby products.”

And we’re not finished there. My sources are telling me that “a deli” may also be going into the ground floor retail space fronting the sidewalk along Figueroa. If you look at the most updated rendering, it looks like there are plans to bring in “a restaurant” with patio dining and access to the “grocery store” on the right side of the building. When most of this project is completed by the end of the year, 845 S Fig will add a substantial presence to Figueroa providing that much needed stronger pedestrian connection between the Financial District and South Park.

Bonus: Here is a peek at what the interior office space on the 5th floor has been upgraded to with a modern and creative industrial design. Potential future office tenants are given the option of build-to-suit.

Corporate L&R offices at 845 S Fig (Photo: L&R)

A creative industrial design was implemented for L&R's corporate offices at 845 S Fig (Photo: L&R)

Future potential office tenants are given the option of build-to-suit (L&R)

18 Responses to Smart & Final (Extra?) Close to Signing Lease at 845 S Figueroa in Downtown LA

  1. Very nice, hopefully we can get a Best Buy too.

  2. I went on google map, and I can’t locate this building.

  3. Bulk often doesn’t make sense when you live in an apartment. Where am I going to store 100 rolls of TP? I hope this will be the other concept store you suggested, but it sounds like Ralph’s isn’t in any danger. My other gripe is that they’re basically in the same neighborhood. Doesn’t really help us who live further up in the historic core. Still, it sounds like a potentially positive addition.

  4. @Brudy – I’m hoping they go with the Smart & Final Extra concept here as well. If you google Smart & Final Extra you can find pictures of the stores, which look like typical grocery stores as opposed to the standard Smart & Final stores. At some point I do believe a more full sized grocery store will make it east to the historic core, but it’s nice to have another option for groceries downtown nonetheless.

    @sebastion – the building is located across the street for 801 S. Figueroa where the Denny’s is located.

  5. Yes, I saw it already, it’s just that Google doesn’t have it updated so there is still a picture of the old building, it would be nice to see an updated picture of it since I don’t go down there very often. See I don’t live in Downtown, but I work here, in Bunker Hill, but don’t get me wrong even though I don’t live down here, I still want to see downtown revived, with full of stores and residents. I hope one day spring or 7th street can be like a Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena.

  6. Just wanted to add that, Downtown needs more retail stores too, not like the ones in Broadway, but more chain stores, an Apple store would be cool to have someday. I can imagine Broadway having these types of stores someday.

    • Sebastian, there is a solid independent Mac store at 6th & Spring. I’d love an actual Apple store though.

      Broadway is coming along, but it has such a long way to go. It’s forward progress though.

  7. If you haven’t shopped at a Smart & Final lately you’ll be pleasantly surprised. They changed the concept slightly over a year ago (my guess is to combat Fresh and Easy) and started carrying smaller sizes and a lot more fresh fruits/vegetables and meats. I go to the store on Vermont across from USC quite often. The Extra stores are pretty much like a standard grocery store with a few exceptions and it would be great to have one in downtown.

  8. Sebastian, I know they are on the way for Broadway :)

  9. Wasn’t Whole Foods supposed to move into this space?

  10. tony – glad you mentioned it. That was what I understood as well. Relocate the corporate offices downtown from Sherman Oaks, and have a store on the ground floor, all 25,000 s.f. They would take the entire building. Guess that deal fell through.

  11. This project will really help reactivate that stretch of Figueroa which looks so forlorn at present.

  12. I tend to agree with Brudy, such a great need for a store like this in so many areas of downtown not good planning placing it 2 blocks from Ralphs.

  13. Wow. Crazy how much downtown continues to “grow”.

    This might be nice for some who don’t want to make the trek to a Costco and would want to go to a “bulk” store that is closer to home. There’s no space for a Costco in DTLA anyway.

    • If you think S&F is all about “bulk” buys you really need to step into one (especially an Extra store) and see for yourself. I think you’d be surprised.

  14. There currently is a Smart and Final in the southwest corner of downtown at Hooper & 12th (just east of Central) but this is much closer for most residents.

  15. Smart and Final is not only one of the very retail or food chains still headquartered in the Los Angeles area, but its roots date back to 1871 in downtown – two years before Ralphs was founded – when it’s oldest predecessor store was founded by the Hellman, Haas and Cohen families – three of the pioneering merchant families in Los Angeles.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_%26_Final

    And all three families are features on the Walking Tours if Historic Downtown LA

    http://www.historicdowntownlosangeles.blogspot.com/

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