Walking along Spring Street between 7th and 8th is still sort of a bummer for a pedestrian. It’s one block along an otherwise vibrant Spring St that’s in serious need of help because it’s rudely interrupted by a bunch of ugly surface parking lots and a serious lack of ground floor retail activation. In other words, it’s pretty dead. Even so, some early signs of positive change for this block include eateries like Juice Crafters and Fresh Panini as well as the forthcoming Spring Ivy next to the renovated Corporation Building into creative office. Oh, and we’re crossing our fingers that the new CVS at 7th/Spring won’t turn into another “Ride Aid” (looking at you 5th/Broadway). But what about those pesky parking lots that suck pedestrian life out of city blocks? That’s why I’m super excited to learn that one of the largest parking lots left along Spring St (at 8th adjacent to the 168-unit historic Chapman Lofts) is now being marketed to developers in search of “one of the last remaining development sites in Downtown Los Angeles.”
According to a marketing brochure produced by real estate broker Ed Rosenthal of New Downtown Brokerage and co-listing broker Christopher Cooney of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, the approximately 39,000 square foot surface parking lot on the northwest corner of 8th and Spring — catercorner to some of the hottest new restaurants in Downtown LA like Terroni and Peking Tavern — could become a high-rise development with 257 residential units with ground floor retail. The rendering provided by Vancouver-based Chris Dikeakos Architects shows a modern tower rising up to 34 stories. The current approved entitlement for the project expires in 2017 with a possible two year extension. So basically that means “developers come and get it!”
Surrounded by new economic activity all around (one block from the new Urban Outfitters at the Rialto Theatre), this new potential residential mixed-use tower will play a vital role in helping to bridge the Historic Core and Fashion District. Not only would it help strengthen the north-south pedestrian connection along Spring Street, but also the east-west alignment along 8th Street, helping to funnel more pedestrians onto Broadway, which is rapidly becoming the next hottest street in Los Angeles with new exciting stores opening, a facade lighting project coming, and a road diet with pedestrian plazas akin to those in New York.
The faster a developer purchases this lot, the faster we might be able to see something big finally rise here. This is one of the worst parking lots left in the Historic Core, so I’m glad to see it could go bye bye.