One of the most popular sandwich chains in America is FINALLY planning to open one here in Downtown LA! Ever since I tried Earl of Sandwich for the first time back in 2012 while visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, I’ve been a huge fan of their delicious Full Montagu packed with juicy and tender slices of roast beef and turkey on toasted wheat bread. Unfortunately, those Earl-sandwich cravings meant I’d have to drive all the way out to Downtown Disney in Anaheim just to get one (that’s been the only one in the LA metro area so far, although a brand new one just opened at Tom Bradley at LAX).
Wow, time sure does fly. I can’t believe it’s already been a year and half since DTLA Rising first announced that Karl Strauss — the local brewery founded in San Diego in 1989 — was opening its main Los Angeles flagship location here in Downtown LA (there’s another one in Universal City Walk). We’ve all been waiting eagerly for another eatery to activate a once desolate corner in the middle of Downtown LA’s Financial District. Well, the wait is finally over as Karl Strauss is now officially open for beer and foodie lovers alike.
A brand new $1.6 million park is now open in the burgeoning Arts District in Downtown LA. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Saturday, Nov 5, celebrating the exciting grand opening of a much needed outdoor gathering space for a rapidly growing urban community that’s seeing unprecedented growth in both residential and commercial developments. Everywhere you look is something new coming to the next corner. With all that rapid change, there’s no doubt the new Arts District Park will play a significant role in supporting that future growth making the community more livable and inviting.
The Arts District in DTLA is really starting to fill in very nicely now, picking up speed as a critical mass is finally beginning to form connecting a sprawling community that stretches from the 101 freeway in the north all the way down to almost the 10 freeway to the south. What was once mostly an industrial warehouse district has been transforming before our very eyes within the last few years into a vibrant urban neighborhood filled with new restaurants, stores, art galleries, and even office space with Warner Brothers and Hyperloop making their headquarters here. Over at 3rd and Garey, two new exciting stores have just recently opened that continue to help attract more people into one of DTLA’s hottest districts. Detroit’s Shinola and Portland’s Salt & Straw Ice Cream are now open for business!
Ramen fans rejoice! Another place to grab a hot yummy bowl of Japanese ramen is coming to the heart of Downtown LA’s Financial District. You might remember almost two years ago, I was super excited that 3rd Generation was the first eatery to bring a good attempt at authentic ramen to the Financial District (check out the slurping good pics here), and now we’re finally gonna get more than just one place to grab ramen here in the FiDi (never hurts to have more options I might add when it comes to variations of food).
Lots of activated retail spaces are one of the main keys to unlocking the full potential of any urban setting no matter where you are, and Downtown LA is no exception. If you want Downtown LA to succeed, you gotta have ground floor retail — everywhere. Think about it. Almost any vibrant urban center you visit that’s walkable and vibrant — whether that’s Manhattan, London, Madrid, or Tokyo — is usually filled to the brim with dense back-to-back retail and restaurants on the ground floor (and in Tokyo’s case on the upper and lower levels as well!). So for an ardent urban advocate like myself who yearns for LA to become truly walkable one day, I am constantly looking for signs that Downtown LA is maturing into a serious urban center. That’s why I’m so excited to see that 801 S Grand is adding that critical piece of the urban puzzle with an ongoing retail space expansion project that will transform this corner into a vibrant urban setting.
Big news comes to South Park this week regarding the massive Oceanwide Plaza project being built across the street from the Staples Center and LA Live complex. The Wall Street Journal released an article this past Monday confirming our initial report that Park Hyatt has been chosen to anchor the $1 billion mixed-user, ousting the still-untested Roberto Cavalli hotel brand that was originally slated to go into the Oceanwide Plaza. DTLA Rising first reported that Park Hyatt was the likely replacement for Cavalli back in Feb 2016.
Anyone who stands at the corner of 9th and Broadway in Downtown LA can see the writing on the wall. What used to be an intersection devoid of life is now humming with an urban pulse that’s only going to get stronger with time. Not too long ago, the intersection was dominated by check cashing centers and abandoned vacant storefronts. Now a few years later, the scene is quite different with high-end retail businesses anchoring almost all four corners and rippling out into adjacent nearby buildings and intersections including 9th and Main, which is also becoming another hot spot with Verve Coffee serving as the neighborhood’s central gathering place. And things seem to be only looking up as another high-end retailer, this time an exclusive Berlin eyewear brand called MYKITA, has just opened their newest Los Angeles outpost here at 9th and Broadway.
I can’t believe it’s finally done! And I’m not just talking about the three years it took to finish building the newest — and might I add, very striking — edifice now added proudly to Downtown LA’s expansive Civic Center. Yes, the new shiny and environmentally-friendly US Courthouse is officially complete with the first federal judges planning to move in by early November. But it took a lot longer than three years to get to this point as the federal building was proposed all the way back in 2001. You might remember that this 3.6 acre lot that the new courthouse sits on was once nothing more than an abandoned dirt lot that was not only a huge embarrassing eyesore to Los Angeles’s name but was also a significant reason why the Civic Center was, and still is to a certain degree, severely disjointed (there are other reasons why the Civic Center lacks coherency that you can read about here).
As a resident of South Park, I can tell you that one of the hardest things about living here is the lack of casual, affordable food options to choose from (especially for dinner). A wide variety of fast casual restaurants that other communities take for granted are pretty much absent here in many parts of Downtown LA. It makes living downtown inconvenient as I frequently feel like I have to leave downtown just to grab a quick bite to eat for dinner. That, to me, totally defeats the purpose of living in an urban center where the idea of walking downstairs easily from your mixed-use residence and being able to choose from a wide variety of eateries should be a normal and standard process. Of course, I have to remind myself many times that DTLA is still a fledgling and growing urban center and has not matured quite yet. With all the being said, that’s why I’m super excited that a new Chipotle is planning to open in South Park soon.
I’ve been watching TEN50 rise from my apartment window for the last couple years. I’ve watched it go from a hole in the ground to a gleaming new tower developed by Trumark Urban and designed by DTLA-based Hanson LA Architecture. It’s been a constant reminder for me every time I look outside that South Park is growing and finally about to hit a critical mass that will transform a once desolate landscape dominated by lifeless parking lots into a vibrant urban community that’s dense and walkable. As an urban enthusiast who understands that mixed-use density is the main key to unlocking Downtown LA’s full potential, I am so excited that in a few months, new residents will be moving into this brand new tower.
The good news just keeps on coming for 7th Street! Last week, we broke the news that the ever-so-popular Halal Guys, which has become a nationally recognized name starting from its humble beginnings as a street cart in NYC, signed a lease to replace the former Brigade LA clothing store near 7th/Olive. And now this week another exciting eatery development is taking place less than two blocks away also on 7th Street.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a HUGE fan of the original Halal Guys from New York, which started out in 1990 at 53rd and 6th Ave in the heart of Midtown. The first time I tried it back in 2003, I became a fan immediately. Even so, to be frank, I was skeptical that they could translate those delicious platters of chicken and gyro meat with rice to a brick and mortar format and still be able to keep that authentic “street cart” flavor intact. Boy, was I glad I was wrong. After trying multiple Halal Guys in various places (Costa Mesa, Koreatown, and even Las Vegas), I’ve consistently enjoyed it every time. It’s become one of my favorite go-to spots for fast and delicious casual food that always hits the spot. That’s why I’m SUPER excited Halal Guys is planning to open their first DTLA location next year here along 7th Street!
This past Labor Day weekend, something exciting happened in Downtown LA while many were probably out of town or perhaps completely unaware (but should be!). The 73-story, AC Martin-designed Wilshire Grand Tower, located at 7th and Figueroa — one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in Southern California — officially became the tallest skyscraper on the West Coast (taking the title away from another DTLA landmark, the US Bank/Library Tower) when construction workers lifted and secured the final piece of the tower’s soaring signature spire — a first of its kind in all of Los Angeles known for its flat-roofed skyscrapers.
Okay, so this is both exciting and not surprising at the same time. The Office Depot strip mall in the middle of bustling Little Tokyo completed in 2001, also referred to by its lesser known name “The Shops at 2nd and Central,” may be redeveloped into something much more appropriate for its Regional Connector-adjacent location in the not-so-distant future.