What was supposed to open last November, and even with all the delays plaguing The Bloc (with some potentially serious financial consequences coming up in April with an updated statement regarding this from The Bloc see below), there are definitely also some silver linings that we can all still be excited about. One of those bright spots is the amazing makeover happening inside the Macy’s department store (although technically separate from The Bloc’s own $180 million makeover project). It seemed a bit far-fetched at the time, but checking out the improvements made inside, it really is starting to live up to the expectations of becoming a new bona fide flagship store for Los Angeles.
As many people who are familiar with the old Macy’s Plaza will remember (pre-makeover), the department store was a complete and utter embarrassment. It was outdated, dingy, and ugly inside (yes, the outside was hideous too). The clothing and other product mix was totally sub-par compared to other nicer Macy’s stores (i.e., Beverly Center, South Coast Plaza, etc.). So knowing how depressing it was before in its recent past, it’s now especially gratifying to walk into the store and see the dramatic changes that have taken place.
One of the biggest changes you’ll notice is the completely new home department section added to the P1 level carved out of what used to be the depressing food court area for Macy’s Plaza. The home section, which was relocated down from the third floor and opened last November, is where you’ll find houseware products for the kitchen, bedroom textiles, and luggage sets.
From the home department, you’ll head up to the main first level with some of the most dramatic visual changes, such as the revamped cosmetics section located by the front entrance now gleaming with new flashy makeup counters including two new upscale additions, Chanel and Bobbi Brown. Brand new Michael Kors and Coach handbags sections also adorn the area by the main entrance. The rest of the first level has been updated with new glossy white floor tiles, new ceiling panels and lighting, and the men’s department has been nicely refreshed and updated with better fashion design selections.
The remaining upper two levels are still work in progress, but the top third level where the home store used to be (now located on the P1 level) has now been replaced with a completely new sprawling home furnishing section that did not exist before. Here you’ll find furniture for every room in your home. But given the generally smaller living spaces found in Downtown LA, this particular Macy’s home furnishing department has a wide selection of furniture pieces geared for more petite spaces. You’ll see model sections designed for smaller square footages like “250 square feet” that help potential loft dwellers visualize what fits or not. The former mattress department has merged with the home furnishings as well.
In addition, the children’s section also on the third floor will be reconfigured to make way for the future Alamo Drafthouse Cinema that is supposed to take over a huge chunk of the third floor. Unfortunately, I have heard that there is still potential for the theater chain from Austin to fall through due to “engineering issues” that make it too expensive to move forward. From my understanding, we’ll find out if the deal goes through when contractors actually begin ripping into that part of the building to see how much retrofitting is needed to support the theater.
Finally, the women’s department on the second level has only begun to replace some of the carpeting while nothing else has really been touched. A new restaurant and entrance will be added to this level connecting it to the outside with the rest of The Bloc. Nevertheless, this is where you can still see the Macy’s pre-makeover, giving you the opportunity to compare the before and after. Speaking to a store employee, I was told that the entire Macy’s makeover should wrap up in June about 4 months away.
Take a tour of the new Macy’s Downtown LA store below!
[Update 2/22/16: Statement Attributable to the Ownership Group at The Bloc (The Ratkovich Company and partners National Real Estate Advisors and Blue Vista Capital Management)
The Ratkovich Company and its partners National Real Estate Advisors and Blue Vista Capital Management acquired The Bloc in 2013 and have completed the transformation of the 496-room Sheraton into a chic hotel that reflects the glamour of old Hollywood; leased more than 250,000 square feet of office space with more than 200,000 square feet in process to some of the most innovative and creative companies in the city; and are 70% of the way to leasing The Bloc to a curated collection of retail tenants that will open their doors onto the “Square,” a space that promises to be a vibrant hub in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. A renovation to the flagship Macy’s store, including an entirely new storefront, is also nearing completion.
Upon acquiring the property in 2013, the ownership assumed the terms of an existing 10-year CMBS loan set to reach maturation in April 2016. A new, more favorable loan replacing the existing loan is in the process of being documented and is projected to close prior to the maturity date of the existing indebtedness. However, as a precaution, we requested a short-term extension of the existing loan to accommodate any potential delay in closing the new loan. This request triggered the engagement of a special servicer to assist with the extension. The new loan, along with the hundreds of millions of dollars of equity that have been invested to date by an ownership team which stewards a multi-billion dollar balance sheet, ensures our unwavering commitment to bringing to life the high aspirations we have for The Bloc and its contribution to the transformation of downtown Los Angeles.
We are grateful to the tenants that have joined us in this very exciting transformation and its significant contribution to the transformation of downtown Los Angeles. We are also grateful to the downtown community for its patience during this massive renovation and look forward to welcoming all of Los Angeles to celebrate a grand opening this summer.]