downtown los angeles, financial district

Tour Macy’s Dramatic Makeover into Flagship Store in Downtown LA

The 266,000 square foot Macy's in Downtown LA has been undergoing a major multi-million dollar remodeling project transforming it into LA's new flagship Macy's store

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 It was outdated, dingy, and ugly inside (yes, the outside was hideous too).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.]

Level P1

The brand new home store on the P1 level offers housewares, textiles, and luggage sets

The brand new home store on the P1 level offers housewares, textiles, and luggage sets

Level One

The new revamped cosmetics section by the front entrance is gleaming with new makeup counters

The new revamped cosmetics section by the front entrance is gleaming with new makeup counters

A brand new Michael Kors handbags section has been added

A brand new Michael Kors handbags section has been added

A brand new Coach handbags section has been added

A brand new Coach handbags section has been added

A newly expanded Sunglass Hut section has been added

A newly expanded Sunglass Hut section has been added

The men's department has been updated with a more upscale appearance and better fashion designs

The men’s department has been updated with a more upscale appearance and better fashion designs

New glossy white tile floors have been installed on the first level that will be used throughout the store

New glossy white tile floors have been installed on the first level that will be used throughout the store

Level Two

The women's department on the second level has yet to be remodeled and still shows the "before" makeover appearance

The women’s department on the second level has yet to be remodeled and still shows the “before makeover” appearance

I am very glad the original golden speckled panels from its "Broadway department store days" (before Macy's bought out Broadway) still remains by escalators

I am very glad the original golden speckled panels from its “Broadway department store days” (before Macy’s bought out Broadway) still remains by the escalators

Level Three

The third floor is actively being remodeled and is half done

The third floor is actively being remodeled and is half done

This section by the children's department is supposed to be part of the new Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

This section by the children’s department is supposed to be part of the new Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

A new sprawling home furnishing department has been added to Macy's Downtown LA (love the DTLA artwork!)

A new sprawling home furnishing department has been added to Macy’s Downtown LA (love the DTLA artwork!)

Macy's Downtown LA home furnishings caters to the smaller spaces found in LA's urban center

Macy’s Downtown LA home furnishings caters to the smaller spaces found in LA’s urban center

Model sections showcase furniture pieces fitting in specified smaller square footages, such as "250 square feet" found in Downtown LA's lofts and apartments

Model sections showcase furniture pieces fitting in specified smaller square footages, such as “250 square feet” found in Downtown LA’s lofts and apartments

The mattress department has merged with the home furnishings section

The mattress department has merged with the home furnishings section

Again, I'm very glad the Macy's remodeling project saved the original golden panels from its "Broadway dept store days"

Again, I’m very glad the Macy’s remodeling project saved the original golden panels from its “Broadway dept store days”

Exterior

The front of Macy's will include a new second floor restaurant overlooking The Bloc

The front of Macy’s will include a new second floor restaurant overlooking The Bloc

It's amazing to be able to see the sky above now that the atrium has been removed

It’s amazing to be able to see the sky above now that the atrium has been removed

Still incomplete, the exterior of The Bloc will be activated by street facing retail and restaurants in the future

Still incomplete, the exterior of The Bloc will be activated by street facing retail and restaurants in the future

8 Comments

  1. Paul wright says

    5000% better than before. This is what I call a transformation. Can’t wait for the completion.

  2. Douglas Goldstein says

    I’d actually assumed the Alamo draft house was close to opening! Man, looks like that couldn’t be further from the truth…

  3. While it looks gorgeous now, I’d like an update in six months after shoppers have had a chance to rummage through Macy’s. If they intend to maintain the “flagship” tag, management will have to maintain an appearance to keep that moniker. Of course, shoplifters with always be a potential headache. And on that note, I wish Macy’s good luck.

  4. Brian J Cornelius says

    Macy’s had many internal advocates for this store who saw the potential for a DTLA flagship. Many more resources were allocated here than would otherwise without those brave supporters. I’m happy to see Macy’s is working hard to hold up their end of the bargain. in spite of delays in the overall project, and I hope the rest of the redevelopment is equally able to live up to its promise. Thats not just construction, its about the the other retailers and food operators who will call The Bloc home for the next 5-10 years, the way the project is operated once its fully completed, and the way the project integrates community and cultural programming.

  5. Manny Gutierrez says

    Is the pianist coming back ? He added an air of distinction in spite of the dreary background of the old setting. With the coming of a better Macy’s and other attractions his musical output will be even more relevant and appreciated. In this era of louder music, Cole Porter and those of that ilk will be an even better match for the classier surroundings.

    Manny Gutierrez

  6. B. Bailey says

    So glad the gold tiles are still there. Those made me look past the general dreariness of the old store. Looks like a class act now.

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