Well, this is certainly good news. The infamous “problem Rite Aid” at the corner of 5th and Broadway just wrapped up on a much, much needed remodeling job that I am hopeful will help clean up this seedy intersection. Historically speaking, this is one of the worst intersections in Downtown LA — a drug haven for decades — and has been a huge thorn in the side of downtown redevelopment efforts. In fact, getting beat up in broad daylight here isn’t out of the question. All this has been exacerbated by the dingy Rite Aid that opened here on the southeast corner back in 2007. Recently, Rite Aid’s pharmacy was exposed as being a pill pusher, dispensing thousands of powerful drugs like Vicotin illegally, where they were purchased by unscrupulous individuals and then subsequently sold on the street right outside Rite Aid’s front door. Well, now it finally looks like perhaps the “leaky faucet” has been fixed with the pharmacy under intense scrutiny and the store remodeling job completed giving it a much needed visual upgrade to signal a new direction.
Author Archives: Brigham Yen
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, the new Gap Factory Store opened this past weekend on Broadway in Downtown LA. The 8,500 square foot store opened at 10 am on Saturday greeted by crowds of shoppers in search of marked down Gap staples for men and women like classic button-downs, denim, and warm winter gear like sweaters and scarfs. There is also a large children’s section located in the back of the store. DTLA Rising first broke the news in August 2014 that Gap was coming to Broadway.
Yesterday around 4 pm, developer Rick Caruso was spotted at the corner of 8th and Broadway in Downtown LA. A tipster, who recognized Caruso immediately in his suit, snapped a cell phone photo of the billionaire developer standing across the street from the Broadway Trade Center (BTC), which is a massive 1.1 million square foot historic structure recently purchased by NY-based Waterbridge Capital with exciting plans in store.
For many who shop at Ralphs Fresh Fare in Downtown LA, I’m pretty sure you’ve noticed that some pretty cool aesthetic changes have taken place recently. For those who don’t know, DTLA Rising first reported that Ralphs — the South Park grocery store that opened in July 2007 that helped propel the downtown revitalization forward at the time — wrapped up on a major $2.5 million remodeling job late last month. Old floors were replaced with new ones, more checkout stands were added for speedier service, and new additions like Murray’s cheese shop and a fancy wine bar have given Ralphs a, dare I say, hipper vibe inside. But one thing that excited me the most about their recent upgrade is also the simplest thing Ralphs should be doing whether or not they went through the remodeling job, and that is, keeping those exterior lights turned on outside in front of the store.
One of the most highly anticipated (and much, much needed) retail-focused projects in Downtown LA is the exciting $180 million makeover of The Bloc (formerly Macy’s Plaza). We’ve been watching the massive project unfold ever since it was announced exactly a year and a half ago (boy how time flies). We know Sheraton is getting a $40 million upgrade and Austin-based theater Alamo Drafthouse is coming to the third floor. And now some more exciting details have been revealed including two new retail concepts that will surely help put the new shopping center on the fashion map in a very crowded Los Angeles market. San Francisco’s uber cool men’s store Wingtip has signed on to open a massive location (this will be only their second store) in addition to a brand new retail concept from the owners of Apolis and Alchemy Works both located in our very own Arts District.
One of the most important plots of empty land centrally located in Downtown LA’s development landscape is the huge-ass parking lot across from Staples Center in South Park. The 4.6-acre site was purchased about a year ago by Beijing-based Oceanwide from Moinian Group for $200 million, according to the LA Times. That’s an astonishing $43 million per acre. What is set to rise here will not only fill in a huge gaping hole in South Park’s urban landscape, but will also be the next biggest thing in Downtown LA’s development pipeline.
One of the coolest co-working companies in the country is coming to Downtown LA — in a big way. According to the LA Times, New York-based WeWork has leased six floors of office space in one of the most beautiful historic gems in Los Angeles: the Fine Arts Building. The shared-office company known for catering to “budding entrepreneurs,” opened their first location in Manhattan in 2010 and proudly claims to be the “world’s first physical social network.” WeWork is strategically locating in tech hubs across the country like San Francisco, Boston, and Seattle. Here in LA — also a tech hub — this will be their second location with another one in Hollywood that opened in 2012.
Thanksgiving is all about spending quality time with your family, so I’m thinking what better news to highlight today than the new Grand Park Playground that just opened this past weekend in Downtown LA’s Civic Center. The new colorful playground is located across City Hall within the most eastern section of Grand Park. At only 3,700 square feet, it’s impact on the downtown community will be much bigger than its actual size. Like honey bees to a flower, playgrounds attract families with children. And this past Saturday, you could say a gazillion kids waited eagerly to be the first ones to jump, climb, and slide their way into the new playground.
Ralphs Fresh Fare opened in Downtown LA as part of the Market Lofts condos in July 2007 and played a major critical role in allowing the downtown revitalization to continue moving forward. The small, but growing population at the time could finally buy groceries (a simple but important necessity) without having to leave their own downtown community. In a nutshell, Ralphs made Downtown LA much more livable and allowed the residential community to grow into what it is today, attracting more businesses to open. Now more than seven years after opening, the downtown Ralphs has gone through a beautiful $2.5 million remodeling upgrade that will keep it up-to-date with the rapidly evolving Downtown LA landscape that’s getting ever more crowded. The competition is heating up as more markets have opened downtown since Ralphs (Smart & Final Extra, Urban Radish), with more coming in the future (Whole Foods, Grow Market, likely Trader Joe’s), and some oldies-but-goodies being rediscovered again (Woori Market).
Meat lovers are sure to rejoice as we are only several months away from the exciting opening of Fogo de Chão at 8th and Figueroa. We first announced they would be replacing Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion back in early Sept. Managed by contractor Shawmut, construction has been chugging along nicely over the last couple of months, converting the massive 8,120 square foot space into the next AYCE Brazilian BBQ hot spot in Downtown LA.
Serving Los Angeles since 2008, the Lobsta Truck brought us those delicious mouthwatering lobster rolls New England is famous for. It all started when Lobsta Truck founder and owner Justin Mi came back to LA from a trip to Maine after partaking in a two-day lobsterfest and realized that you really couldn’t get that kind of lobster experience here on the west coast. So the lobsters-on-wheels concept was born and became instantly popular as Angelenos far and wide lined-up to taste that buttery crustacean goodness served on a toasted split-roll made the traditional east coast way. After expanding the Lobsta Truck to the Bay Area earlier this year, Mi is now onto the next evolution of his business opening his first brick and mortar location, Lobsta Shack, here in Chinatown in Downtown LA.
Like my favorite 90’s kid show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, the hunt for the elusive Trader Joe’s continues in Downtown LA. We were oh so close, but no cigar. Unfortunately, the other deal fell through at The Bloc where it was originally “supposed to” go. Apparently, the location of the proposed market in the back of the shopping center — with its slanted grade change — didn’t jibe with our wonderful purveyors of Two-Buck Chucks. But wait! With the fast-approaching arrival of Whole Foods just down the street, it looks like Trader Joe’s may not want to end up too far away after all — hopefully it sticks this time. According to multiple credible sources, Trader Joe’s is currently eyeing and in early negotiations with a strategically located historic structure at the edge of the moribund Jewelry District.
New owners of the former Coca-Cola factory building in the Arts District have just released some very exciting renderings of the conversion project they plan to implement for the historic production facility built a century ago. The owners — a joint venture between LA-based GPI Companies and NY-based Atlas Capital — plan to invest a substantial amount of funds (in the multi-millions) to redevelop the property into a creative office and retail hub that will restore and highlight the building’s amazing vintage character — including the beautiful red brick that makes up most of the facade.
The momentum on Broadway continues. Fans of athletic footwear and apparel will be pleased to know that Shiekh Shoes is coming to Broadway opening next door to the new Gap Factory Store. Replacing a lower-end fashion chain called Rainbow, the new approximately 6,000 square foot Shiekh store will offer higher-end essential brands for men, women, and children including: Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Converse, K-Swiss, Lacoste, Sketchers, and Steve Madden. With over 140 locations in 10 states (mostly in California), Shiekh Shoes are generally located in shopping malls (there’s one at the Beverly Center for instance), but are also beginning to open urban street-facing stores such as the new Hollywood Blvd location that opened earlier this year.
We last checked in with One Santa Fe about 6 months ago when it was still a big construction site and it’s so exciting to see something this huge and game-changing coming to fruition. Designed by renowned architect Michael Maltzan, the massive 438-unit Arts District project (a quarter of a mile long) is already filling up with new residents and signing new leases with unique and exciting shops and eateries. Dubbed “The Yards at One Santa Fe” (a reference to Metro’s train maintenance yard next door), the retail center on the ground floor is preparing to launch one of the most exciting indie retail concepts in all of Los Angeles that’ll give cross-town Abbot Kinney a run for its money. Three more new additions have just signed on: LA’s Wittmore, SF’s Voyager Shop, and a new Asian eatery called BOL, all expected to open in the first quarter of 2015.