What a great way to start off the new year in DTLA! Some really exciting news coming from the 9th and Broadway area, which has become one of Downtown LA’s main hubs for our much-needed growing retail scene. One of the most popular furniture stores in North America, West Elm, has finally signed a lease to occupy a ground floor commercial space right across the street from the posh Ace Hotel. As someone who has furnished most of his apartment with items from West Elm, I can say from personal experience that I am super excited that a new store will open within Downtown LA!
Located along Broadway, the two-phase 679-unit Broadway Palace (one of the largest new mixed-use projects being built on the cusp of the Historic Core and Fashion District) has been pushing along steadily and is now almost fully complete. West Elm recently signed a lease to secure its new Downtown LA location here at the Broadway Palace, listed by Senior VP of Retail for L&R Group, Rob Galanti, who negotiated the deal on behalf of the landlord. The trendy furniture store is taking about 11,200 square feet of space, which will be similar in size to the store in Pasadena.
With currently four stores in the LA metro area (Santa Monica, Beverly Blvd, Pasadena, and Costa Mesa), West Elm is slated to begin construction on its new downtown store by this summer with plans to open either late this year or early next year depending on when they can actually get permits approved by the city to begin build-out.
If you’ve been following the revitalization of Downtown LA over the years, you’ll know that 9th and Broadway is one of the first intersections to attract some serious retail presence. Today, although still modest in size, you can really see the amount of new stores that are coalescing around this intersection once dominated by swap meets and check cashing centers. Many would say both the Ace Hotel that opened in 2014 and brands like Acne Studios, Urban Outfitters really helped jump start the process. Now, we’re getting a slew of new stores including Theory, A.L.C., and an exciting new West Coast flagship Vans store that will include their “House of Vans” concept.
So what does this all mean?
It means that as more stores open up, we’ll eventually hit a critical mass that forms a bona fide shopping district that’s critical for the future success of Downtown LA’s urban revitalization. If you look at ANY great urban center around the world that’s active and vibrant, it’s hard to find one that doesn’t include shopping in the picture. Can you think of even one? Even on a local level, some of LA County’s most vibrant walkable districts are those that are hubs of retail and shopping including Santa Monica, Pasadena, Glendale, and Beverly Hills. One day, my dream is that Downtown LA will reclaim its rightful place as the center of this sprawling mess we call “Los Angeles.”