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.