bunker hill, downtown los angeles

One Cal Plaza Gets Million Dollar Makeover on Bunker Hill in Downtown LA

Phase one of the newly remodeled retail corridor at One Cal Plaza, renamed 1Cal Marketplace, is now completed

Phase one of the newly remodeled retail corridor at One Cal Plaza, renamed 1Cal Marketplace, is now completed

Bunker Hill is finally starting to feel more coherent now with the completion of The Broad museum (opening Sept 20th) and the Emerson luxury apartments that filled in two major empty deadzones on Grand Ave. Fortunately, more much-needed upgrades are coming to Bunker Hill that will help make the district more inviting, less fortressy. One California Plaza owned by Beacon Capital Partners — a 42-story office tower designed by renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erickson — is well in the process of remodeling its retail corridor, which sits underneath the main pedestrian walkway that connects the entire California Plaza, which includes the taller 52-story Two California Plaza owned by CIM Group, to MOCA and the Colburn School next door.

Designed by Gensler, the first phase of remodeling work for the retail corridor now rebranded as “1Cal Marketplace” (instead of Water Court) has been completed. What used to resemble a dark unwelcoming cave with dropped ceilings and ugly fluorescent lights has been given the modern touch. The once dated space has been opened up exposing the concrete ceiling for an updated industrial vibe accented with bright cheerful colors (splashes of green and blue), and now lighted by modern and bright LED pendant lamps. The concrete blocks painted blue and green jutting down from the ceiling are actually planters with trees above located on the pedestrian walkway.

These square concrete blocks have been painted blue and green and are actually the bottom of planters above that hold trees

These square concrete blocks have been painted blue and green and are actually the bottom of planters above that hold trees

In addition, new seating (bright white tables and chairs) have been added including wooden benches set against the wall to soften the space dominated by granite and concrete. To encourage people to linger awhile, handy outlets have been added to new wooden bar tables powering mobile devices so they can take advantage of the free WiFi available.

Free WiFi is available

Free WiFi is available

The renamed 1Cal Marketplace, which contains about 15,000 square feet of retail space (not including Two California Plaza), will be rebranded by this fall with new business signs and wayfinding signage designed by architect firm ESI Design out of New York. Two new businesses have opened up here as part of phase one (out of two phases) including Indian eatery Saffron and one of Downtown LA’s original wine shops, Gourmet Wines & Spirits, which relocated from 626 Wilshire (where City Athletix is today). Mendocino Farms’ original location from 2004 is here and will soon be getting an exciting makeover as well.

Finishing by July, phase two of the makeover project will continue the exisiting improvements from phase one through the rest of One Cal Plaza’s retail corridor, which currently has a couple of tenants including Salata and Dan’s Deli. More new restaurants will be signing on including a new Corner Bakery and a coffee shop. Altogether, the makeover project will cost just over $1 million.

The rest of the 42-story office tower will also receive major upgrades to the lobby and the addition of a new 2,500 square foot rooftop patio deck for law firm Nixon Peabody, which leased out the top two floors of the tower last year and moving into their new office space later this year.

After Remodeling

New wooden bar tables

New wooden bar tables

New wooden benches set against the wall

New wooden benches set against the wall

Gourmet Wine & Spirits relocated from 626 Wilshire in the Financial District

Gourmet Wines & Spirits relocated from 626 Wilshire in the Financial District

The original Mendocino Farms from 2004 will be getting a makeover as well soon

The original Mendocino Farms from 2004 will be getting a makeover as well soon

Before Remodeling

Just after the remodeling project started in Oct 2014 with the removal of the dropped ceiling

Just after the remodeling project started in Oct 2014 with the removal of the dropped ceiling

It was once very dark and cave-like

It was once very dark and cave-like

The metallic tables and chairs have been swapped out for bright white ones

The metallic tables and chairs have been swapped out for bright white ones

7 Comments

  1. This is great news. I’ll have to check it out tomorrow.

  2. Dennis Smith says

    Another improvement on the periphery of Bunker Hill is the completion of work on the Bunker Hill steps opposite the Central Library’s entrance on 5th Street. The fountain is once again running and the water is visible from street level. In addition, at night the steps are now lit in a slightly garish but ultimately inviting color scheme that will hopefully serve to induce people to check out the scene on Hope Street at the top of the stairs. Now if they could only do something to brighten up the escalator that leads from 4th & Olive up towards CalPlaza (oh, I mean, Marketplace) and, of course, get Angel’s Flight running again and you would really increase pedestrian access and nighttime activity at the south end of Bunker Hill.

  3. Michael says

    I wonder how hard it would be to encourage building owners to redevelop their ground floors… It seems like just adding a splash of activity at the base of these otherwise lifeless towers would help generate a more consistent pedestrian stream

  4. Sebastian says

    We need retail. Some nice Gucci, Channel stores can turn this part of downtown into the new shopping district for rich business people, and their gold digger wives.

  5. dpdapper says

    Brigham, the material is CONCRETE, not cement. Cement is to concrete as flour is to cake.

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