Last year in March, we revealed some exciting plans about a parking structure at 11th and Hope that was getting the “mixed-use treatment.” The owner of the 7-story parking structure, Downtown LA-based PSP Investment Group, decided to do something pretty revolutionary for car-obsessed Los Angeles. PSP retrofitted the parking structure by replacing the first parking level facing Hope Street with new retail space totaling about 11,000 square feet. Basically, the very urban-conscious PSP went against the grain by taking away space reserved for cars and giving it back to people. A smart move given that the new retail space will eventually generate more pedestrian activity, adding a new spark of life to an otherwise very dead block.
But it doesn’t stop there. Some other really exciting changes are happening in various stages of development at 11th and Hope that will help further activate this intersection with new found life. In addition to the new retail space, PSP collaborated with the South Park BID and Do Art Foundation to commission local LA artist duo devNgosha to paint the entire facade of the 7-story parking structure — both along 11th Street and Hope Street — with a new mural comprised of fanciful “characters on the move” inspired by the stop motion sequence with motion picture projection. The new mural started work in early December and wrapped up earlier this month.
Another exciting change will be the addition of a new parklet, which will be the first one in South Park and only the third one in Downtown LA (the first two parklets were installed two years ago on Spring Street in the Historic Core). According to LADOT’s People St program, parklets introduce new streetscape features such as seating, planting, bicycle parking, or elements of play, and ultimately, encourage pedestrian activity. The new one coming to South Park will be positioned directly in front of the corner restaurant Briks on Hope Street. The South Park BID in its effort to activate the community has sponsored the parklet and will be maintaining it once it is installed. Currently, they are finalizing construction documents and other formalities with LADOT and will be launching the parklet later this year.
Two other exciting developments loom on the horizon for 11th and Hope. One, the historic Desmond building (catercorner to the parking structure) continues with construction upgrades that will renovate and bring the 1916 structure up to code as it prepares to become the new 82,000 square foot headquarters for AEG Live and AXS Ticketing, which is projected to add over 500 employees to the block where very few office workers currently exist. To me, that also means 500 hungry mouths to feed during lunch time that will help boost and attract more dining options to the immediate area.
Lastly, the corner retail space at Luma that has been vacant ever since the luxury condo high-rise was completed in 2007 will finally be activated when a new restaurant opens in the space later this year. With a soaring high exposed concrete ceiling, the still unnamed new eatery will strive to transform the space into a welcoming and casual neighborhood gathering spot “with a new food and drink escape complete with a few twists and surprises” according the restaurant’s co-owners film producer Tony Frere and destination developer Greg Schumann who have also teamed up with Dave, Jamie and Jonny Whitton (Villains Tavern, Bow and Truss, Sunset Marquis).
In case you haven’t noticed lately, the rest of South Park is really on fire. It’s like one massive construction site with a bunch of big holes in the ground (foundations being dug) where dead zone parking lots once ruled as king. A bottleneck of projects stalled from the last Great Recession are now bursting out of the seams, finally. Massive mega developments like Metropolis and Fig Central — once thought impossible during the recession — along with a slew of other mixed-use projects from developers like Hanover, Astani, and Trumark Urban are now actively under construction pointing to an exciting new future for South Park that’s vibrant and livable.