Author Archives: Brigham Yen

Downtown LA’s Broadway-Spring Arcade Continues to Transform with New Opening of Gelateria Uli

Gelateria Uli is a new dessert shop that has opened in the historic Broadway-Spring Arcade built in 1924 (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

Gelateria Uli is a new dessert shop that has opened in the historic Broadway-Spring Arcade built in 1924 (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

New gelato cafe, Gelateria Uli, opened this Monday inside the Broadway-Spring Arcade, one of Downtown LA’s most unique and beautiful historic buildings. The new dessert shop, owned by downtown resident Uli Nasibova, joins both Crepes Sans Frontieres (opened in 2013) and Famima (opened in 2012) as the arcade’s new businesses that are helping to transform this historic pedestrian corridor into an exciting and thriving center once again.

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Rumor Mill: Gap, Banana Republic, other Big Retailers Scouting Downtown LA

Gap, Banana Republic, and other large retailers are now rumored to be searching for space in Downtown LA along either Broadway or 7th Street

Gap, Banana Republic, and other large retailers are now rumored to be searching for space in Downtown LA along either Broadway or 7th Street

Since Urban Outfitters and Acne Studios opened on Broadway in late December of last year, a whirlwind of new retailers have setup shop almost overnight nearby 9th and Broadway and the new Ace Hotel. OAK NYC, Tanner Goods, Aesop, and A.P.C. to name a few. But all up and down Broadway is fair game for other retailers including the apparent signing of Burlington Coat Factory at 7th/Broadway. Now, rumors are picking up that other large well-known brands – which once eschewed Downtown LA like the plague — have not only taken notice of all this new retail activity, but are actively looking for suitable spaces in Downtown LA as well. Where? Specifically along retail-conducive streets like Broadway and 7th Street where large redevelopment projects like The Bloc and Wilshire Grand Tower continue to generate buzz. Names like Gap, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Forever 21, and Anthropologie have all come up as brands searching or eyeing Downtown LA. No exact locations are yet confirmed for any of these brands, but the fact is, eventually they will find a home here. Only a matter of time. Also, within the next month or so, both Zara and H&M will be opening their exciting new LA flagship stores at FIGat7th that will further add fuel to the growing retail fire in Downtown LA.

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New “LA Plaza” Mixed-User with Exciting Paseo Coming to El Pueblo in Downtown LA

A new mixed-use project being spearheaded by the LA Plaza foundation in El Pueblo is being planned for two parking lots just west of Olvera Street with a pedestrian paseo as the highlight of the project (Photo: LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes)

(Click to enlarge) A new mixed-use project being spearheaded by the LA Plaza foundation in El Pueblo is being planned for two parking lots just west of Olvera Street with a pedestrian paseo as the highlight of the project (Photo: LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes)

A very, very exciting mixed-use project is in the early planning stages over in El Pueblo just north of the 101 freeway and south of Chinatown, which is the historic birthplace of Downtown LA, and to a greater extent, the birthplace of Los Angeles itself. In fact, the oldest residence still standing in Los Angeles, Avila Adobe built in 1818, remains one of Downtown LA’s main visitor attractions located on historic Olvera Street within El Pueblo. Now, exciting plans are taking shape to further enhance and strengthen El Pueblo allowing for both visitors and Angelenos alike to embrace and appreciate the historic value of the district. A non-profit foundation based in El Pueblo called LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes is currently in the process of selecting a developer to build two mixed-use projects, named “LA Plaza Cultura Village,” on two county-owned parking lots just west of the foundation’s headquarters on Main Street that will connect El Pueblo to its surrounding communities including Chinatown and Union Station.

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Le Pain Quotidien with Historic Courtyard Now Open at PacMutual in Downtown LA

A new Le Pain Quotidien is now open at the PacMutual along with the newly revealed and renovated adjacent historic courtyard to the right

A new Le Pain Quotidien is now open at the PacMutual along with the newly revealed and renovated adjacent historic courtyard to the right

It’s been almost a whole year (last May 2013) since we found out that Le Pain Quotidien (aka LPQ) was coming to the PacMutual in Downtown LA. After a little delay — it was supposed to open in February this year — LPQ finally opened last Saturday about a week ago and has been serving up breakfast and lunch with a menu of tartines, quiches, soups and salads along with coffee and tea paired with an array of fresh yummy pastries.

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888 South Hope: CIM Group’s New 33-Story Project Preparing for Ground Breaking in Downtown LA

A new 33-story tower by CIM Group is set to rise at the corner of 9th/Hope in South Park called "888 South Hope"

A new 33-story tower by CIM Group is set to rise at the corner of 9th/Hope in South Park called “888 South Hope”

South Park in Downtown LA just keeps getting hotter and hotter! Recently announced are a slew of new proposed shiny high-rises set to break ground in the next year or so that will give our growing skyline a major shot in the arm — how exciting! Now let’s add another tower to the mix, this time at the northeast corner of 9th and Hope also in South Park (directly adjacent to the u/c boutique “Empire Hotel“). The new 33-story residential tower — to be called “888 South Hope” — will be developed by CIM Group, which just recently purchased Two Cal Plaza on Bunker Hill and also developed the Market-Gas Company Lofts across the street.

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Stephen Kane Running for DLANC: “Safer Streets, Redoing Pershing Square, More Transit” in Downtown LA

Native Angeleno Stephen Kane is hoping to contribute his love and passion for Downtown LA by running for Downtown LA Neighborhood Council (Photo: Stephen Kane)

Native Angeleno Stephen Kane is hoping to contribute his love and passion for Downtown LA by running for Downtown LA Neighborhood Council (Photo: Stephen Kane)

By Stephen Kane

It’s no longer a secret: DTLA is on the verge of becoming a great urban core once again. Promise and opportunity abound in this rapidly growing community, but so do the challenges that we must address in order to keep downtown on the right path and direction. As we continue to grow and evolve, we will increasingly wrestle with who we are and what we aspire to be.

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EightyTwo (82) Arcade Bar Brings Classic Gaming to the Arts District in Downtown LA

EightyTwo is a new arcade bar that grand opened this week in the Arts District in Downtown LA

EightyTwo is a new arcade bar that grand opened this week in the Arts District in Downtown LA

Did you grow up in the age of classic gaming (like me) in the 80s and 90s when going to the arcade was an absolute integral part of life? Remember the good ol’ days of lining up quarters on the arcade console waiting eagerly for your turn to challenge the “unbeatable” incumbent player on games like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat? For me, it was all about Chun Li: “Yatta!” Walking into EightyTwo, now open in the Arts District in Downtown LA, is like taking a trip back in time when arcade game consoles were ubiquitous (7-Elevens used to be the hang out spot after school right?).

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Applause: South Park Parking Structure Adding 11,000+ SF New Retail Space in Downtown LA

(Click to enlarge) Rendering of new eateries (with outdoor patio dining) along Hope Street after the ground level parking is converted to retail space (Photo: PSP Investment Group)

(Click to enlarge) Rendering of new eateries (with outdoor patio dining) along Hope Street after the ground level parking is converted to retail space (Photo: PSP Investment Group)

Some very exciting news coming out of South Park that will help enliven the streets just a little bit more. Just two blocks from the Staples Center, an existing parking structure at 11th and Hope that currently houses two restaurants on the ground floor — Il Mare and Arashi Sushi — will be expanding its commercial retail space for lease by another 11,200 square feet. The 5-story parking structure with 598 spaces will be converting the ground level parking area along Hope Street into retail and restaurant space. Essentially, the entire perimeter of the parking structure will be wrapped with commercial spaces with a focus on adding new eateries. You lose a little bit of parking to benefit the growing community with neighborhood serving businesses that make living in Downtown LA enjoyable and convenient. I call that a win-win.

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NBC 4 News Follow-up to DTLA Rising’s Coverage on Downtown LA’s Library Tower Going Hotel/Residential


Watch NBC 4 News story about Library Tower going hotel/residential in Downtown LA

In case you missed it last week, LA’s NBC 4 local news ran a cool follow-up story to DTLA Rising’s recent exclusive coverage of Library Tower in the early feasibility planning stages of becoming one of the largest adaptive-reuse projects in Downtown LA history. The 73-story office high-rise is still the tallest skyscraper west of Chicago and a big portion of it could become residential and hotel along with an exciting and much desired observation deck for visitors to LA. Reporter Jane Yamamoto mentions in the newscast a very interesting new detail regarding when we might learn more about this possible exciting hotel/resi conversion project!

Downtown LA New Restaurant Roundup: Samarkand Cafe, Jimmy John’s, 10E Mediterranean

Uzbek eatery Samarkand Cafe is coming to the new Market at Medallion at 4th/Main in the Old Bank District

Uzbek eatery Samarkand Cafe is coming to the new Market at Medallion at 4th/Main in the Old Bank District

Old Bank District: Samarkand Cafe is coming to 4th and Main. This will be one of, if not the only authentic Uzbek restaurant in Los Angeles serving up affordable and delicious street food like Uzbek Plov (pictured above), Manti steamed dumplings, and delicious Shurpa soup with a combination of beef and veggies. Located within The Medallion courtyard, construction has begun in earnest on remaking the apartment courtyard into an exciting new culinary project called The Market at Medallion, which will have an array of various local eateries like Bigmista BBQ, a Lebanese restaurant, and now Samarkand Cafe. The new 380 SF Uzbek eatery will be setup like the Grand Central Market with diner counter service with seating up to 8 as well as communal tables. As the commercial broker who represented Samarkand Cafe, I am very happy to announce their mid-June to early July grand opening!

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OAK NYC Opens LA Flagship Store at 9th/Broadway in Downtown LA

The new OAK NYC LA flagship store is now open at 9th/Broadway in Downtown LA

The new OAK NYC LA flagship store is now open at 9th/Broadway in Downtown LA

The intersection of 9th and Broadway is hot, hot, hot! OAK NYC quietly opened its LA flagship store earlier today on Saturday on the ground floor of Tarina Tarantino’s Sparkle Factory. It wasn’t that long ago when this intersection was sadly forlorn and dominated by swap meets and check cashing centers. Now, it’s transforming into the epicenter of high fashion retail in Downtown LA with powerful ripple effects being felt throughout the country (and world) where even exclusive fashion circles are taking notice. The writing is on the wall: Downtown LA is coming back, and it’s coming back strong with a vengeance.

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Scoops Ice Cream Now Open at Far East Plaza in Chinatown in Downtown LA

Scoops Chinatown is now open next to Chego at the Far East Plaza

Scoops Chinatown is now open next to Chego at the Far East Plaza

Far East Plaza in Chinatown is really becoming the new casual culinary hot spot to watch in Downtown LA. One of LA’s most popular ice cream shops, Scoops — what the LA Times Daily Dish calls a “cult favorite” — soft opened yesterday on Friday in the Far East Plaza shopping center in Chinatown. The new “Scoops Chinatown” is just a couple doors down from Roy Choi’s immensely popular Chego eatery, which opened last year and successfully injected a completely new fresh breath of life into the aging shopping center. Chris Gere, owner of the new ice cream shop (he’s a franchisee), was attracted to up-and-coming Chinatown and found the space next to Chego a fantastic opportunity. The beginning of some beautiful synergy has begun.

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New Coworking BLANKSPACES Launches Repositioning of Broadway Arts Tower in Downtown LA

A new co-working space called BLANKSPACES has opened on the top 4th floor of the beautiful historic 1928 Schulte United Building near 5th/Broadway

A new co-working space called BLANKSPACES has opened on the top 4th floor of the beautiful historic 1928 Schulte United Building near 5th/Broadway

Broadway is now the center of attention in Downtown LA when it comes to urban revitalization. The 1.5 mile stretch through the heart of downtown contains arguably the most architecturally significant collection of historic buildings in Southern California with its impressive 12 movie theatre palaces (one of them, the Rialto, recently converted to a fancy Urban Outfitters) and stand-out edifices like the gorgeous art deco Eastern Columbia and the infinitely ornate Bradbury Building built in 1893. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Broadway’s historic gems still remain in bad shape covered in decades worth of neglect with caked layers of grime, filth, and pollution. One of the most important parts of cleaning up Broadway is not only to activate the ground floor with high quality shops and eateries, but to also activate the upper floors with creative office spaces among other viable commercial usages. It’s something LA Councilman Jose Huizar’s office is pushing for through an updated “commercial adaptive reuse ordinance.” And that’s why I’m so excited to see a new coworking space called BLANKSPACES open on the upper floor of a historic building near 5th/Broadway. It gives me a glimpse of what else we can expect to see for the future of Broadway’s upper floors.

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