Author Archives: Brigham Yen

800 Degrees Pizzeria Brings Custom Made Pies to Downtown LA

A temporary banner sign for 800 Degrees Pizzeria went up on Thursday afternoon until the permanent sign is installed sometime in the next couple of weeks

A temporary banner sign for 800 Degrees Pizzeria went up on Thursday afternoon until the permanent sign is installed sometime in the next couple of weeks

The wait is finally over! 800 Degrees Pizzeria is officially opening in Downtown LA this Monday, Jan 26 after almost a-year-and-a-half since announcing they were opening downtown. The shuttered Provecho restaurant at 800 Wilshire has been transformed into a beautiful new space for the LA-based restaurant chain that, some say, started the whole “custom pizza craze” that spawned a slew of other similar concepts flooding the LA market (think Blaze, Pizza Studio, Pieology, etc).

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Planet Fitness to Muscle its Way into Seedy 5th/Broadway in Downtown LA

The national gym chain, Planet Fitness, is taking over the long abandoned Discount Citi space near seedy 5th and Broadway

The national gym chain, Planet Fitness, is taking over the long abandoned Discount Citi space near seedy 5th and Broadway

Good news! Another national gym chain is coming to Downtown LA — Planet Fitness (first spotted on Racked LA last week). But this time, instead of choosing to open in the Financial District where currently pretty much all of downtown’s membership gyms are clustered — Equinox, Gold’s Gym, 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness, YMCA, even newcomer City Athletix — Planet Fitness will be taking the brave leap toward the Historic Core near seedy 5th and Broadway. The new gym will take over the long abandoned (horrendous blue colored) Discount Citi building at 437 S Broadway a couple of doors north from Fallas Paredes, which also desperately needs to go. Calling Uniqlo please!

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Don’t Litter: 18 New “Smart” BigBelly Trash Bins Installed in Downtown LA

In an effort to curb littering, 18 new BigBelly Solar "smart" trash bins installed with GPS monitoring were installed by the DCBID along 7th Street in Downtown LA

In an effort to curb littering, 18 new BigBelly Solar “smart” trash bins installed with GPS monitoring were installed by the DCBID along 7th Street in Downtown LA

As part of a push to make Downtown LA a cleaner urban center, 18 new special trash bins were purchased by the Downtown Center BID (DCBID) and placed last month near every intersection along 7th Street from Figueroa to Olive (that’s four blocks). With such high foot traffic along 7th Street — the busiest east-west pedestrian corridor in downtown — it made the most sense to begin a pilot program here with the hope that more people will be inclined to use these eye-catching bins, marked with the DCBID logo, instead of throwing litter on the ground.

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Pez Cantina Brings Mexican Seafood to Bunker Hill in Downtown LA

A new Mexican seafood restaurant is now open perched high on Downtown LA's up-and-coming Bunker Hill (Photo: Eater LA)

A new Mexican seafood restaurant is now open perched high on Downtown LA’s up-and-coming Bunker Hill (Photo: Wonho Frank Lee | Eater LA)

This is when you know a city is finally starting to mature. Hidden spaces once forgotten and ignored are re-purposed and brought back to life. Pez Cantina — the new Mexican seafood restaurant helmed by chef Bret Thompson (of Milk) — has carved out a space within an office building on Bunker Hill, an up-and-coming district dominated by office skyscrapers aiming for activity even after the work day ends. What used to be an underutilized conference room in the lobby of the 26-story CBRE tower has been transformed into a gorgeous restaurant space with soaring high ceilings and an unique sprawling outdoor patio.

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Eye-Catching New Murals at The Bloc Spruce Up 8th Street in Downtown LA

Eye catching murals at The Bloc were completed last month to improve the pedestrian experience along 8th Street

Eye catching murals at The Bloc were completed last month to improve the pedestrian experience along 8th Street

I really gotta hand it to The Ratkovich Company. After they purchased Macy’s Plaza in May 2013 from Jamison, it’s been nothing but positive changes that have happened under their new ownership as the fortress-looking shopping center built in 1972 (now renamed The Bloc) is in the midst of being completely remodeled from head-to-toe. Not only is the new tenant mix super exciting (i.e., SF’s Wingtip men’s store, Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, etc.), but Ratkovich is doing everything they can to make the center approachable and pedestrian friendly, including the 8th Street side of the property located “in the back” of the complex. Because of the parking entrances and loading docks that must remain, it was tougher to figure out how to engage pedestrians on 8th Street. Ratkovich decided to implement permanent artistic murals on the large blank walls that line the south side of the property.

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Find the People You’ve Crossed Paths with in Downtown LA Thanks to Happn

Happn is available for free download on the App and Play Stores

Happn has arrived in Los Angeles and is available for free download on the App and Play Stores

Have you ever had a crush on someone you didn’t have a chance to talk to? But it filled you with regrets and you couldn’t stop thinking about him or her?

There are a bunch of reasons that prevent us from approaching strangers. Because the situation wasn’t ideal, because you don’t know what the other person is going to think… Or, for instance, simply because you can’t really make eye contact with someone driving in a car while you’re driving as well. Taking your eyes off the road is a recipe for disaster. However, most people walk in Downtown LA and that’s why a new dating app called Happn is launching here as part of their plan to add Los Angeles to a growing list of cities the app services where chance encounters become the spice of real dating life. Making eye contact with that handsome stranger crossing the street might lead more with Happn.

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Chef Christian Page to Open Tione’s on Main in Downtown LA’s Old Bank District

Tione's on Main is the next culinary concept from chef Christian Page, located at the Medallion Apartments in Downtown LA

Tione’s on Main is the next culinary concept from chef Christian Page, located at the Medallion Apartments in Downtown LA

After a year run, the vegan eatery with the name that sadly never caught on, Dr. J’s Vibrant Cafe, closed last year sometime in September. Now chef Christian Page (formerly of Short Order and recently Cassell’s Hamburgers at Hotel Normandie) will be converting the 2,700 square foot space in the Old Bank District into his next culinary concept called Tione’s on Main. Page will offer the reinterpretation of the classic deli sandwich using locally sourced organic produce and humanely/sustainably raised meats. Expect in-house cures and smoking techniques incorporated into the sandwich menu.

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Little Sister of Manhattan Beach Opening in Downtown LA by Spring 2015

Little Sister will be taking over the shuttered Gaji space on 7th Street next to one of LA's best sushi spots, Q Sushi

Little Sister will be taking over the shuttered Gaji space on 7th Street next to one of LA’s best sushi spots, Q Sushi

One of the most popular restaurants in Manhattan Beach, Little Sister, will be opening its second location in Downtown LA very soon. Chef Tin Vuong and business partner Jed Sanford of Blackhouse Hospitality will open on 7th Street near Bottega Louie. According to a tipster, the new downtown location will replace the shuttered Gaji directly next door to one of LA’s best sushi spots, Q Sushi.

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Upscale Women’s Boutique AltHouse Opens at 8th/Main in Downtown LA

AltHouse is a new upscale women's boutique at 8th/Main offering unique brands like Rachel Comey and Suno

AltHouse is a new upscale women’s boutique at 8th/Main offering unique brands like Rachel Comey and Suno

Fashionistas rejoice! A new upscale women’s boutique called AltHouse just opened a couple of months ago at 8th and Main, pushing the new downtown development momentum east into the Fashion District. The new shop, located next door to Skingraft’s also new flagship store, adds to an exciting shopping district in the making within the Historic Core, which includes other nearby stores like Nudie Jeans, Urban Outfitters, Acne Studios, and APC’s new downtown location opening this spring. AltHouse offers a unique experience in both the brands it carries and the beautiful space it occupies.

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Brigham Yen on FOX 11: Broadway Trade Center Reviving; Arts District “Exploding”; Farmers Field in Downtown LA?

About a week ago, I was invited by FOX 11 to come on their noon time talk show segment to give an update on some of the most exciting developments happening in Downtown LA. It’s always super fun for me to be able to share with people what’s going on with DTLA — my favorite subject of course!

Please check out the video above and here are the topics we covered:

  • 1.1 million S.F. Broadway Trade Center getting restored
  • More retailers opening up in downtown
  • Arts District exploding with development, incl. Coca Cola Building
  • Rite Aid pharmacy controversy at 5th/Broadway
  • Farmers Field viewed as a benefit for downtown
  • More green space, Pershing Square next big thing

Thank you again so much to FOX 11 News!

Now Open: Fogo de Chao Brings AYCE Brazilian BBQ to Downtown LA

Fogo de Chao is now open in Downtown LA's Financial District serving AYCE southern Brazilian BBQ

Fogo de Chao is now open in Downtown LA’s Financial District serving AYCE southern Brazilian BBQ

Wow that was fast. It only took less than 4 months to go from announcement to opening. The upscale Brazilian BBQ chain Fogo de Chao soft opened last Sunday, Dec 28 just before New Year’s Eve. Located at 8th and Figueroa in the Financial District, construction started on the massive 8,120 square foot restaurant space replacing Roy’s, which shuttered this past summer after almost a decade run. For meat lovers, this place is heaven. Fogo is known for their high quality meats including filet mignon and lamb chops among many other yummy cuts.

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Holiday Lights Aglow: It’s Christmas Time in the City in Downtown LA

The lighted Christmas tree stands prominently over the Jonathan Club in Downtown LA (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

The lighted Christmas tree stands prominently over the Jonathan Club in Downtown LA (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

For someone who thrives being in the middle of the city, walking, and taking in the sights and sounds of a bustling urban center, there’s nothing quite like all that added on top of the holidays. Some people dread the holidays, but I love it. To me, I enjoy seeing all the buildings come alive by getting decked out in colorful lights and ornamentation. I love seeing Christmas trees spring up around office lobbies and outdoor spaces. Over the past several years, I’ve been noticing that Downtown LA is becoming more and more festive as our resident population continues to grow and a renewed sense of pride fills our city once again. Walk down almost any street, look up, and you’ll see Christmas trees abound glowing warmly inside living rooms or lights strung across balcony railings.

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Tiny Retail Shops Fill Historic Tower Theatre in Downtown LA

Don't underestimate these tiny stores opening at the Tower Theatre as they make a big impact on this stretch of 8th Street

Don’t underestimate these tiny stores opening at the Tower Theatre as they make a big impact on this stretch of 8th Street

We all love our beautiful historic movie palaces along Broadway (there are a dozen that line the street), and the Tower Theatre at 8th and Broadway is no exception. The small but opulent historic venue opened in 1927 and was designed by prolific American architect S. Charles Lee (who also designed the grand Los Angeles Theatre up the street). At only 150 feet long x 50 feet wide, the Tower Theatre could seat up to only 906 at its heyday. The owner of the Tower, the Delijani family, closed the theater in late 2012 with plans to convert it to a concert venue. However, to most people who walk by daily, it just looks like a sad abandoned theater — albeit a gorgeous one. But exciting signs of change (and life) popped up recently in the form of tiny retail shops along the 8th Street side of the Tower Theatre.

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No Way! Downtown LA’s Seedy Rite Aid at 5th/Broadway Cleans Up

The infamous Rite Aid at 5th and Broadway has gone through an extensive remodeling job, helping to improve one of the seediest intersections in Downtown LA

The infamous Rite Aid at 5th and Broadway has gone through an extensive remodeling job, helping to improve one of the seediest intersections in Downtown LA

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 Vicodin 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 positive direction.

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New Gap Factory Store Now Open on Broadway in Downtown LA

The new Gap Factory Store opened this past weekend on Broadway as another sign of urban revitalization for the historic retail corridor

The new Gap Factory Store opened this past weekend on Broadway as another sign of urban revitalization for the historic retail corridor

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.

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