The Historic Core in Downtown LA is where it all started after the adaptive-reuse ordinance was passed in 1999. Developer Tom Gilmore first took advantage of the new ordinance and converted three vacant and dilapidated historic buildings into 230 live/work lofts in what is now known as the Old Bank District at 4th and Main. It’s definitely come a long way since 1999. Over the last 15 years, the Historic Core — with its massive stock of, what else, historic buildings — has become a mixed-use residential hub with increasing numbers of restaurants, bars, and yes, even retail. Now that a good chunk of historic structures has been converted to mostly housing, it’s only logical for the next step in Downtown LA’s evolution toward urban maturity to begin building new ground-up projects as well that will help fill in those surface parking lots that have disrupted the urban fabric with its negative, anti-walking sprawling effects. Now, the exciting continuation of the Historic Core’s revitalization includes three new proposed high-rises set to break ground in the next year: the 38-story SB Omega, the 15-story Broadway Lofts, and the 33-story Hill Tower Lofts.
Category Archives: bicycle oriented
More eateries are coming to Union Station in Downtown LA! A very popular crepe restaurant from Santa Monica located on Third Street Promenade called Cafe Crepe (they’re originally from Canada with locations in Vancouver and Toronto) will be opening later this year taking over a space once occupied by Union Bagel, which shuttered three years ago in 2011. According to a manager at Cafe Crepe I spoke to, the lease was just signed and they are hoping to open before the end of this year. The new eatery will sit directly across from the much revered fine dining Traxx Restaurant, which has been operating since 1997. Cafe Crepe will also have patio seating like Traxx and add to a growing number of new businesses opening inside LA’s landmark train station including T & Y Bakery opening soon.
Over the last two months since we found out that some very exciting upgrades were coming to Union Station in Downtown LA, work has been humming along with construction upgrades to the station including: the addition of new wayfinding signage; major touch-up work like fresh paint on walls and floors getting a beautiful shiny glossy polish; and other restoration work that’s really producing some very exciting and dramatic results. Part of the wayfinding signage program being implemented even includes a new towering interactive kiosk in the east portal section of the station and new large digital schedule screens for Amtrak and Metrolink.
Watch a short video about ULI FutureBuild hosted in Downtown LA!
Mayor Eric Garcetti is among the leaders who will preview dramatic changes in urban living at FutureBuild 2014. On January 28 ULI Los Angeles presents this high-level, interactive event. Mayor Garcetti will give the keynote speech – a preview of a sustainably designed a future Los Angeles. (Could it be something like the transit-oriented Downtown depicted in Spike Jonze’s movie “Her?”) Other Downtown-focused topics will include: new bikeways; a preview of the new cubicle-free office represented by CBRE’s redesigned headquarters; parklets such as those popping up on Spring Street; expanded access to a restored L.A. River, and more.
Lessons in Urbanism for Downtown LA from Chicago: Brigham Yen Joins LA Architect Thomas Cox’s ULI Panel
I spent last week in one of the country’s best downtowns — Chicago. I was invited by Downtown LA-based architect firm, TCA, to join the founder Thomas Cox on an Urban Land Institute (ULI) conference panel discussing Gen Y (a demographic group I belong to) and our shifting preference toward multifamily housing in urban centers away from the default auto-centric suburbia that the Baby Boomers — our parents — once salivated for. The panel discussion was held at the Langham Hotel in the heart of Downtown Chicago across from the brand new stunning Trump Int’l Hotel and Tower. Lodging nearby at TheWit (highly recommended), I was in the perfect central location to explore all the amazing urban attributes that Downtown Chicago has to offer.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will join ULI Los Angeles, a District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), for Transit Oriented L.A., a long-anticipated summit exploring how to dramatically improve transportation corridors. With interactive panel presentations from nationally recognized speakers, Transit Oriented L.A. – or ToLA– will expand the traditional emphasis on individual transit stations to a bold transformation of corridors to achieve a truly transit-oriented Los Angeles.
ToLA is Thursday, October 10, 2013, 7:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N Central Ave, Los Angeles, 90012.
It’s hard to believe that 6 years have flown by since Ralphs Fresh Fare opened at the Market Lofts in July 2007 becoming Downtown LA’s first mainstream supermarket serving our growing downtown population, which has exceeded 50,000 residents. Now just a couple of blocks down the street at Figueroa and 8th Pl, Smart & Final Extra will officially open its doors for business today, Thursday, July 18 at 7 am. DTLA Rising first reported that Smart & Final was coming to Downtown LA back in March 2012. The store opening comes shortly after another specialty market called Urban Radish just opened on July 4th in the Arts District. Two markets opening in the same month? Downtown LA really has turned the corner.
It’s been roughly a year since Sport Chalet announced their newest flagship location would open at FIGat7th in Downtown LA. The new 27,000 square foot store (the same size as the forthcoming Zara flagship!), located on the lower level next to Gold’s Gym and underneath City Target, soft opened today adding to the growing list of exciting new retailers that are coming back to LA’s urban center.
Every time I visit New York, I’m like a kid in a candy store. Why? I’m an urbanist at heart and New York is brimming with urbanism. No, it’s exploding with urbanism! I love walking and being a pedestrian free to roam the city, and whenever I’m here in New York (usually for a week at a time), I feel liberated and empowered as I dart through the energetic streets, slide my MetroCard on my way down into the ubiquitous subway stations, and jaywalk whenever and wherever I please. The way New York and other East Coast cities are built, compact and mixed-use, encourage a thriving pedestrian culture. What are some key ideas that we can bring back from a city like New York that can continue to help Los Angeles (and specifically Downtown LA) develop that wonderful pedestrian urban lifestyle and lessen our dependence (read: handicap) on automobiles?
As Downtown LA continues to evolve and mature into a multi-faceted urban center that’s not only a commercial hub but a bona fide residential community, it becomes even more important that we focus on creating an environment that is pedestrian friendly making it enjoyable and convenient for residents to live, work, and play in. That enhancement to the pedestrian realm — wider sidewalks, narrower streets, more bike lanes, etc. — in Downtown LA is needed to create the strong walkable connections that eventually spawns a walking culture.
I just got back to LA after spending a week in New York. Every time I visit America’s largest urban center, I am inspired by the incredible urbanism that defines the city. The infrastructure and built environment, mix of architecture, diversity of businesses, and strong pedestrian culture never ceases to amaze me. For us in LA, as we continue to press for change — improving our own urbanism in a city still dominated by a suburban, car-oriented mentality — it would behoove us to look at successful models and examples from other cities that could be applied to Downtown LA. One of those prime examples is Grand Central Terminal in Midtown at 42nd Street, which has experienced an amazing turnaround from irrelevancy and near demolition in the 1960s to one of the greatest rail stations in the world today.
After all the recent “liquor license” controversy surrounding the New Genesis Apartments and Great Balls on Tires (which I hope eventually gets approved), I am glad some good news comes today from LAist regarding the same building (a tip sent in by DTLA resident Torr Leonard). A new and novel kind of ice cream shop called Peddler’s Creamery is coming to the New Genesis Apartments at 458 S Main St.
Did you know that the second largest public law library outside of Washington, D.C. (second only to the Library of Congress) is right here in Downtown LA? Yes, the Los Angeles Law Library, located at 1st and Broadway in the Civic Center, has an impressive collection of nearly 1 million books and documents pertaining to everything you could possibly want to know about the legal universe (yes, there are even volumes on “United States Space Law”). Although the library may still only be relevant to a certain niche (i.e., government officials, those studying law or preparing for a trial case for instance), I find it wonderful that this tremendous resource is here in Downtown LA, contributing to the prestige and significance of our urban center.
As Los Angeles continues to expand its rail network, such as the recent opening of the long awaited Expo Line, we must look at the future of transit oriented developments (TOD) and how they will interact with our present and future rail stations. This Thursday, June 7, 2012 is the perfect opportunity to learn more about TODs in Los Angeles as Urban Land Institute’s 3rd Annual TOD Summit happens at USC.
According to DLANC, on the morning of Feb 12, the LADOT will be out yet again to repaint portions of the Spring Street bike lane that were washed away almost immediately after they were painted the second time. This time, they plan to test out 6 different types of paint to see which one(s) stick the best. A follow-up analysis will take place afterward, choosing the best and most cost effective paint to go with. Weather.com predicts Feb 12 will be warm and sunny.