downtown los angeles

Holy Shit! Rumors Surface Trader Joe’s Looking to Open in Downtown LA

Rumors from substantial sources now confirm that Trader Joe's is actively looking for a location to open in Downtown LA with no definitive timeline yet

Rumors from substantial sources now confirm that Trader Joe’s is actively looking for a location to open in Downtown LA with no definitive timeline yet

Could it be? Could it be? No more schlepping to Silver Lake or Pasadena for Trader Joe’s? It could be!

Remember back in 2011 when Trader Joe’s snubbed Downtown LA by specifically stating that “downtown wasn’t in their 3-year plan?” Many downtown residents were livid that Trader Joe’s stubbornly refused to open here even though a DCBID demographic survey made it quite clear that Trader Joe’s was (and still is) the #1 most desired market chain. Well, the “three year ban” is coming to an end soon and Downtown LA is now a completely different animal than even just three years ago. Since 2011, the list of new downtown developments and businesses that have opened, or are planning to open (including the new Whole Foods under construction at 8th/Grand), has transformed Downtown LA from the victim of skepticism to the center of attention (even making the NY Times Top Global Places to Visit in 2014). So has Trader Joe’s finally taken notice of all this positive attention? The short answer is: Yes.

Even though a call to Trader Joe’s customer relations denied a future Downtown LA location in the works, several reliable sources have confirmed that the immensely popular market chain (which started here in LA in 1967) is now actively looking for a suitable location downtown. No specific site has been chosen yet. Eventually it could end up in an existing retail space (with loading capacity) or as part of a new ground-up mixed-use development (like Whole Foods) with a build-to-suit opportunity.

Apparently, TJ’s is receptive to many different districts throughout downtown including up-and-coming Broadway in the Historic Core. Broadway? Not impossible given the recent influx of high-end businesses along the architecturally rich thoroughfare (i.e., Ace Hotel, Acne Studios, Urban Outfitters, etc.). A Trader Joe’s location along Broadway would be a powerful economic injection to the street that would undoubtedly attract even more businesses nearby with its very presence (akin to the amazing catalytic effects the Ace Hotel has had).

With all that said, there is no definitive timeline on when Trader Joe’s would eventually open a market downtown since they haven’t even found a suitable space yet. The most exciting part about all this isn’t when they’ll open, but that it now seems imminent that Downtown LA will finally get its holy grail of all markets once thought of as impossible.

Trader Joe's could be just around the corner, Downtown LA (Photo: ETC)

Trader Joe’s could be just around the corner, Downtown LA (Photo: ETC)


  1. City officials need to be all over this! If they need to knock down a building on Broadway- Do it! This would finally staple together the lower artist district to the upper financial core. Also a huge win for Mr. Huizar. I hope they are listening.

  2. Arts District Beagle says

    Just throwing in a vote for the TJ to be in the Arts District, mmk? :D

  3. Myles says

    I don’t know how well Broadway will work with the upcoming “road diet.” These big stores need lot so f access and parking…or I should say, they think they do.

    Is an Erewhon still planning to open up in the One Santa Fe project? I haven’t heard anything about that in a while.

    • brudy says

      That’s actually not true. TJ’s has smaller, less car friendly locations in many cities. Boston has one with zero parking, and well, the one in Hollywood is way easier by foot. And to be honest, if you’ve tried to park in the lot at the one in Silver Lake, it’s barely worth it.

        • Really? Im shocked to hear this. Its always packed. Do you have a source?

          • I was told by somebody who works for TJs at a party 2 weeks ago. We were having a discussion about the possibility of a location opening in DTLA, and stores in very urban areas. I was also very surprised. it could be that their overhead is just that much higher in that location.

  4. Myles says

    Oh Ok. I honestly don’t ever frequent TJs so I probably don’t have a good idea of their business philosophy.

    Personally, I don’t have any great desire for a TJs or even for another market at all. Things are way different around here than they were just a year ago. We have Smart and Final, Urban Radish, Whole Foods is on their way and some new market at OSF, not to mention Ralphs and the Little Tokyo spots. Good to see big business recognizing DTLA though.

  5. I say they take over that nasty Fallas-Paredes on the corner of 5th/Broadway and create a Super TJ’s.

    • That would be ideal. Central to everyone and a great way to clean up that corner. The building above was already rehabbed but that ground floor is garbage

    • Sarah says

      The Fallas Parades chain owns that building though… not likely. BUT YES that would be cool.

  6. I’ve wanted them to take over the ground floor of the Douglas Building forever. I believe it’s the square footage they look for, and there’s a parking lot next to it, and across the street.

      • Raymond3000 says

        Is that the upcoming Spring restaurant by the owner of Church & State in A.D?

  7. Amanda says

    I keep thinking they should take over that Office Depot in Little Tokyo everytime I walk by. It’s got a tiny parking lot that would be a pain for everyone to use, which is what they seem to be going for everywhere else. But of course, we’ll all be able to walk anyway :)

  8. Senegal G20 says

    >> Andrew Meisner wrote: The one in Hollywood is also one of their worst-performing stores sales-wise <<

    Mr Yen or anyone else, any idea how the newest stores are faring in the central city? Obviously the level of sales at the grocery stores would be the most relevant to the subject to this blog entry, but also how the cash registers are doing at stores like Urban Outfitters on Broadway or Acne in the Eastern Columbia building, etc.

    Are the private conversations among insiders, presumably in the real-estate trade, good and reliable enough to justify a headline with an expletive? Or is it just a tricky leasing agent or two trying to drum up hope and interest among his clients?

  9. honestly, i mostly shop at farmer’s markets, and now that urban radish opened in the arts district (fyi with produce from local farmers markets), i rarely find the need to shop at trader joe’s. i think even if they do eventually come to dtla, i will continue to support small businesses that chose to open up when we actually needed them.

  10. Myles says

    Ha! I have been saying that for years…well at least two. That location makes so much sense. However, it looks like that Office Depot does a good business and I doubt they have plans to leave any time soon.

  11. I would love to see them in the old May Company building that is for sale on 8th and Broadway. That beautiful building is crying for a makeover and the ground floor is huge. Also, there is access on Hill Street for parking.

    • That building is for sale at $120,000,000… Perhaps a new owner will buy it and sign them as a flagship tenant for the first floor. The first floor is massive however, so there would be multiple tenants there> it actually would be a great location for them

      • Actually, scratch that $120,000,000… that was off the top of my head and i dont think thats correct.

      • I agree. Broadway Trade Center would most definitely be a good candidate. It is indeed massive, but having Trader Joe’s would welcome retail stores more “appealing” to the Downtown demographic. It would be a nice addition to the Bringing Back Broadway “sweep” that has been happening from 9th Street in the past year. Additionally, Bringing Back Broadway’s plan is to have loading areas for merchants as well as 24-hour curbside parking anyway, so that won’t be a problem for them in terms of having merchandise delivered and clientele parking, respectively. Most Trader Joe’s branches have awful parking anyway! Plus, Downtown residents are more inclined to walk to places. What great news as I am still disappointed upon hearing Big Lots will be closing.

  12. Christine says

    Once they say Whole Foods had committed to the region, they changed their tune. I for one am not a huge fan of Trader Joe’s but would appreciate additional options.

  13. Marty C. says

    While it would be nice, I live 2 blocks from Trader Joe’s right now – I walk to the Pershing Square Red Line station next to my bldg, get off at Hollywood and Vine and walk around the corner! Unless they close the Rite-Aid (now THAT is an excellent idea!) at Broadway and 5th, any DTLA TJ’s is going to be farther away, grocery-schlepping wise.

    I like the Rite-Aid idea, since Rite-Aid obviously hates that location and does everything it can to broadcast that message to its customers…

  14. MVMulberry says

    4th & Broadway, there is a burnt out building on the corner which has tons of parking behind it in the Wells Fargo garage. It could also give some balance to all the development happening near LA Live, bring it closer to MOCA, Disney Hall, etc.
    That way, they could build the place from scratch, make it a ‘flagship’ store.

  15. MVMulberry says

    ok, scratch 4th & Broadway. How about 4th & Spring, across from Bar Ama and Orsa & Winston. Beautiful street with string lights, parking lot attached to the building. boom. done. do it. :P

  16. So over Trader Joe’s. No need for their horrible packaged produce and other random junk when we have so many good options downtown already.

  17. Whether you’d personally shop at TJ’s or not- DTLA can use another option and it only helps spurring more Indy businesses like the Acne’s in the world to want to rent in areas like Broadway- DTNC has dreamed for years to get staples into Broadway to replace the rotting swap meets and other businesses that are a little rundown and aren’t used by the DTLA residents- so, don’t knock positive change for the overall neighborhood vs. your personal preference…

    • Ryan R says

      Unless people’s rabid obsessiveness for Trader Joe’s causes them to flock there and ditch the more interesting local businesses we have, like Woori Market and Urban Radish. Then we’ll lose our uniqueness and just be like any part of LA, just more walkable and with some pretty older buildings. Well, I suppose that’s how business works. Hopefully we can support all these various options rather than it being one or the other.

      • brudy says

        I like Urban Radish as much as the next person, but it’s very pricey. They make WF seem cheap.

  18. While I’ve been on a half-hearted Trader Joe’s boycott since they turned their back on DTLA, I might be convinced to shop at a TJ’s once it opens nearby (perhaps after inserting a grumpy “took you too long” comment in their suggestion box).

    A lot of good suggestions on where to site a Trader Joe’s above. Might I add to the list the former Rite Aid spot at 7th & Los Angeles? Maybe not the cleanest or most transit-friendly corner in Downtown, but it might inject some life back into that area during the evening hours. Also, I recall hearing that The Vault nightclub space is being repositioned for retail (though it looks like they’re still open as of now) with several potential buildout options. Seems like a great location and there’s even parking adjacent.

  19. B Christiansen says

    As a DTLA resident, I appreciate the options we have but would love the addition of TJ’s. The lower level of “the bloc” has parking and could be well situated. Having the metro stop right there is an added bonus, very similar to how we jump on the subway to go to the Hollywood TJ’s now. Yes Urban Radish and the farmers markets are great. Yes we try to support local. However, UR is still a car ride (and pricey) and the Farmers Markets downtown seem to still be catering to the office crowds. Our sunday market is ok, but pretty limited.

  20. Great news but as much as I love TJs, they are late to the party and I can not give them points for that. We already have Ralphs, Target, Smart & Final, Wal Mart, Urban Radish and soon to open Whole Foods. They should have been the first to open as they are a true neighborhood market. Little Tokyo comes to mind for an under served location.

  21. Southparker says

    Well, no one can accuse them of being pioneers or having a vision. With all of the new additions to Ralph’s, including Whole Foods, Smart&Final, Target, and Urban Radish, we don’t need them. Way to come late to the party.

  22. That Office Depot in Little Tokyo would be good; it’s between Historic Core and Arts District and already has a parking lot. I’ve never been inside that store so I don’t know its size, but I can’t imagine the community would be hurt much by losing it.

    • Marty C. says

      Actually, I’d prefer the Office Depot. Only store of it’s kind in the DTLA area.

  23. Raymond3000 says

    The latest LA WEEKLY the.rumors.yet.again, even saying they aren’t even considering DTLA in their 2 year plan, oh well

  24. belindieG says

    Why not across the river? Soto and 4th? One Santa Fe looks like a prison crossed with thr Beverly Center.

  25. LACityRat says

    Who cares? Trader Joes is soooo last century! New, more organic and modern stores, like Urban Radish, will take the place of any stuck-in-the-60’s Trader Joes.

  26. brudy says

    I’m not sure why people keep bringing up Urban Radish? It’s a good market, but doesn’t cover all the bases as well as TJ or WF, and the prices are very very high (I shop at WF regularly, so I don’t penny pinch on groceries). I see the Radish as more of a specialty market, not an everyday store.

  27. Jimmy James says

    TJ’s is corporate, and as such, is mired in beauracracy. I have dealt with them first hand, and let me tell you…they told me they required parking, to the tune of 70 spaces! Don’t know if they have changed their mind about this or not, but hopefully they have changed their attitude.

  28. I would like to “donate” the Rite-Aid at 7th & Hope. As someone mentioned above, their stores say, “we don’t care about the customer, just profit”. That said, I have been a huge fan of TJ’s since the 70’s, but the fact the are a day late and dollar short for DTLA, puts a huge negative of them now “discovering” us. Spite doesn’t do much for me, but I might rethink a special use of it for TJ’s. Notwithstanding their locations in NY and Boston, they prefer a location with parking, and they maniacally demand cheap rent that might be difficult in DTLA now. Obviously they have no foresight in our market which is critical for the manner in which DT’s operates. They probably got the new Hollywood location on the cheap as a loss leader to attract other tenants in that complex.

  29. Actually, the company’s Store Managers just had a secret meeting and there are some big changes coming. There are some rumors also that local division of Trader Joe’s is having some problems.

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