One of the biggest disappoints I still have with Carmel’s 8th/Grand project is they didn’t activate the Olive Street side of the mixed-use building with any retail space. Currently the project facing Olive is comprised mostly of a blank wall and a portion of glass windows set aside for the building’s residential fitness center. I really wish that Whole Foods was designed with at least some kind of back entrance that would address the street a bit better instead of focusing all its attention on Grand Ave. In any case, that’s why I am so excited that Chicas Tacos is opening on Olive Street that will help fill in the void created by 8th/Grand.
In another sign that the 8th Street corridor is seriously becoming the next hot spot in Downtown LA (check out my recent interview about 8th Street on the FOX 11 noon show), another favorite eatery will be making its way to the corner of 8th and Hill. Paris Baguette, a bakery that was actually founded in South Korea in 1986, has signed a lease to open its first DTLA location next to the upcoming Shake Shack and Sweetgreen, which are also currently two of the most sought after restaurants in the country. Now adding Paris Baguette bakery to the mix will really sweeten things up even more.
This has got to be one of the most exciting milestones in LA’s march towards urbanization (i.e., making our city more walkable and transit-oriented). One of the largest urban nodes in LA — Santa Monica — is now finally linked into our growing regional rail network, which now includes 105 miles of Metro rail track. The long, long-awaited opening of the last leg of the 6.6 mile Expo Line Phase II has finally arrived after five years of construction, testing, and anticipation. Finally! Angelenos can now take the train from Downtown LA to the beach and vice versa.
One of the most exciting mega projects under construction right now in Downtown LA is the massive Oceanwide Plaza being built on Figueroa directly across the street from the Staples Center. The $1 billion project is really the missing bookend to LA Live, a project by AEG completed in 2010 that focused almost exclusively on restaurants and nightlife venues leaving out the all-important retail component that attracts shoppers. An exciting new fly-through video has been released by Chinese developer Oceanwide showcasing the project’s flashy two-story ground-floor commercial space — now aptly named The Collection at Oceanwide Plaza — that will likely be filled in with a slew of new upscale retailers and restaurants, especially if the uber-upscale Park Hyatt signs on as the project’s hotel operator.
Some exciting news from yesterday out of the LA Business Journal. The business-focused publication all but confirmed our initial report that the Apple Store is taking over the ornate Tower Theatre at 8th and Broadway. In case you missed it, DTLA Rising first came out with the substantiated rumor from an “inside” source posted last year in November that Apple was looking at taking over the historic entertainment venue for their new DTLA store location, which would become one of Apple’s most unique stores in the nation.
We’ve been waiting for this one for what seems like — forever. Even though we only really found out about a year ago that Bunker (or “BNKR”) was opening downtown, but it’s the location that makes this retailer from Australia extra significant and exciting to DTLA’s urban revitalization. The fashion forward brand based in Adelaide (Australia’s fifth largest city) quietly opened its doors for business last Saturday (spotted by Racked LA) at the very hot intersection of 9th and Broadway, which has become one of the main epicenters in Downtown LA’s fragmented but expanding shopping scene.
With literally thousands of pets living in DTLA, it’s kind of surprising there aren’t more pet stores scattered all around downtown, especially in the South Park and Financial District neighborhoods where a large concentration of residents live. Well, that’s about to change. Soon downtown residents will have a new place to shop catering to their furry friends when Unleashed by Petco opens later this year in South Park.
Last week was so much fun! I was invited by local TV affiliate FOX 11 to come on their noon show to discuss my favorite subject, DTLA of course, and to share with viewers Downtown LA’s growing stature as the country’s most exciting up-and-coming urban center.
I can’t believe it’s been almost 4 years since we reported that Sport Chalet signed on as one of the first major retailers to join what was then a newly remodeled FIGat7th shopping center. Now with the sporting goods chain announcing last week that it will be closing all 47 stores, including the Downtown LA flagship, this gives us an opportunity to fill in the gap that will be left behind with something else really great for the downtown community!
The Arts District in Downtown LA continues to gain momentum in its growing retail scene as the neighborhood is truly beginning to feel like the early stages of what Abbot Kinney went through in the mid-2000’s, especially along Third Street where various unique shops and restaurants are helping to create a critical mass of back-to-back businesses. I am so excited to learn that the upscale fashion house Guerilla Atelier will continue that much needed trend along Third Street by opening a new permanent flagship store after it relocates from its current location next to Urth Caffe just a few blocks away.
With the huge poke (pronounced “PO-keh”) craze going on right now all across LA — you know, those yummy Hawaiian-inspired sashimi bowls usually served with rice or salad — you’d think downtown’s hot South Park district would’ve gotten its own dedicated poke shop a whole lot sooner. Well, one is finally opening later this year under the posh apartment tower at 8th and Hope. As a huge poke fan, this will be a very welcome addition to the neighborhood adding to a much needed diversity of food options that’s slowly coming together here in downtown.
City West is one of Downtown LA’s least talked about community districts — sorta like the red-headed stepchild of the DTLA family! But that’s only because it hasn’t hit a critical mass yet (not enough restaurants, stores, residential developments, etc.), and there’s still that inconvenient chasm known as the 110 Freeway that divides it from the rest of the Financial District core. Nevertheless, things are slowly changing as more mixed-use projects are added (like the 210-unit 1111 Wilshire that opened in 2013), which will help usher in a new urban energy that will create the stronger pedestrian cross-flow between City West and the Financial District. And part of that exciting change is the addition of a new adaptive-reuse project called The Mint that is filling up with new residents who now call City West home.
Onni Group is the first thing I think of when I hear “Vancouver developer” in the Downtown LA development scene (especially after they just added their beautiful 33-story Level tower at 9th and Olive to our growing DTLA skyline). However, a new Canadian player is coming into town. Bonnis Properties, also Vancouver-based, has just completed the acquisition of the historic Foreman & Clark building at 7th and Hill for a whopping $52 million ($353 a square foot) according to broker Derrick Moore of Avison Young who represented Bonnis Properties.
The Historic Core’s Broadway Spring Arcade, once lined with a hodgepodge of swap meet vendors, is now finally beginning to shape up nicely as more artisanal eateries slowly begin to open inside this historic linear corridor that acts as a pedestrian cut-through between Broadway and Spring Street. Over the last almost three years, it seems like only one or two eateries have opened per a year starting with Crepes Sans Frontieres, but it’s finally starting to turn a corner (i.e., heading toward a critical mass akin to Grand Central Market’s amazing success). Earlier this month, Garçons de Café opened on the side closer to Broadway in the arcade bringing to the Historic Core a novel French retail-wine-bar concept.
Aren’t pretty much all bookstores beautiful in some way? There’s nothing like walking into a store filled with books filled with all that wonderful knowledge to feed the mind. And what’s even more beautiful to me as a passionate urbanist is seeing another amazing bookstore like Hennessey and Ingalls open here in Downtown LA, continuing the trend of centralizing (or consolidating) some of the best LA has to offer into the region’s most walkable, transit-oriented urban center — the best antidote for LA’s insurmountable suburban sprawl.