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.