Construction has continued to hum along at The Bloc ever since the atrium roof was removed last month exposing the future now-outdoor courtyard that will become the new retail epicenter in Downtown LA’s growing shopping district when it opens later this year. While The Bloc is being made over, there is also more good news that the very, very sad Macy’s has finally begun work on their own remodeling project (that’s technically separate from The Bloc’s makeover) that will apparently upgrade it to a “flagship store” for Los Angeles according to multiple sources who are familiar with the downtown store.
Another corner in the Historic Core gets a solid new business helping to push the momentum forward. A new Floyd’s 99 Barbershop opened exactly two weeks ago at 7th and Spring on the ground floor of the historic Bartlett Building taking over the corner retail space where Andrew Meieran’s short-lived vintage collectibles shop Kinetescape used to be.
The pie-in-the-sky vision of surrounding Pershing Square with new retail and restaurants like bustling Union Square in San Francisco is finally beginning to take some preliminary shape. In early May, a new upscale retailer called Please Do Not Enter added to a growing mix of new businesses opening across from Pershing Square, which is probably one of the most important public spaces left in America that hasn’t been revitalized yet.
What an auspicious time for Downtown LA to add another gay bar now totaling three including the New Jalisco. Just about a month after Downtown LA’s newest gay bar, Precinct, opened at 4th and Broadway as well as the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on same-sex marriage legalized across the country, Redline soft opened its doors earlier than expected on Tuesday evening this week at the intersection of 6th and Los Angeles. They were initially planning to open in early August.
The retail momentum continues on Broadway with the opening of Shiekh Shoes last Friday, July 10 and first reported their downtown arrival by DTLA Rising back in November 2014. Located near the very up-and-coming intersection of 8th and Broadway where Urban Outfitters, Gap Factory Store, and the Broadway Trade Center project are helping to redefine the block, Shiekh adds a nice sneaker and athletic attire option to a growing and diverse shopping district in the making.
Great news today regarding Downtown LA’s (and the west coast’s for that matter) still tallest skyscraper, the 1,018-foot tall, 72-story Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower). Per the LA Times, more details have emerged about the observation deck that we already knew was coming and other exciting improvement upgrades geared for the landmark high-rise that has defined the downtown skyline since it was completed in 1989.
With so many historic structures along Broadway still abandoned and/or underutilized, it will still be awhile before Broadway is brought up to speed. So that’s why it’s so important to get as many of these structures restored and activated as fast as possible to continue to push the downtown momentum forward. And that’s why I’m so glad to report that another new adaptive reuse project called the Parmelee Lofts is proceeding forward near 7th and Broadway that will add new rental housing and retail to the historic thoroughfare, helping to bridge the prosperity development gap between southern and northern Broadway (basically between the Ace Hotel and Grand Central Market).
One of the main public universities in Los Angeles — Cal State LA with 24,000 students located about 4 miles east of Downtown LA — will be opening a new downtown campus in January 2016 according to the university’s Director of Communications Robert Lopez. First reported on the LABJ, the new campus will open at 801 S Grand Ave, a modern 22-story office tower (with half of it converted to residential back in 2006) surrounded by amazing development activity including the 700-unit luxury apartment project Eighth & Grand anchored by Whole Foods across the street.
What started eight years ago in Washington, DC in 2007 by three very smart Georgetown students, the popular east coast salad eatery Sweetgreen has grown to 30 locations in the country (and counting) opening their first LA location in West Hollywood earlier this year with another in Santa Monica coming soon. The LA opening spree doesn’t end there. Now the health-conscious green chain is headed to the heart of LA — Downtown LA, of course — with a new location appropriately nearby the highly anticipated upcoming Whole Foods.
Wow that was fast! Only about a month since construction started, a brand new Starbucks opened last Friday on the ground floor of the Title Guarantee Building at 5th and Hill by Pershing Square. Another Starbucks you ask? Yes, but I still think there are two reasons to be excited about this even though it’s “just another Starbucks.” One, the new cafe gives everyday regular folks a way to interact with a beautiful historic building that’s been closed off for decades. Even though this 13-story historic beauty — topped by a stunning Art Deco crown — was converted into 74 lofts back in 2008, the ground floor had been sealed off to the public occupied by the building’s leasing office and a small fitness center. Now, with Starbucks replacing the leasing office and gym, even if you’re not a resident, you can still engage with the building like never before.
Finally! The beautiful Garfield Building at 8th and Hill, one of the last truly stunning pieces of magnificent architecture in Downtown LA that’s still sitting sadly vacant, has been formally put up for sale this past week listed by brokers Gibran Begum of NGKF and Mike Smith and Jim Halferty of Lee & Associates. Ever since the downtown revitalization started well over a decade ago, every downtown booster (including myself) has hoped for the reactivation of the Garfield Building, a grand 12-story edifice built in 1929 designed by prolific architect Claud Beelman in the Art Deco-Art Nouveau style. Now with the building listed on the market, there is great hope that soon someone will pick up this grande dame and give it the TLC it needs to be brought back to life, and as a result, contribute significantly to the urban revitalization of Downtown LA’s Historic Core.
Watch the 1-minute video of #jaydancingLA in the streets of Downtown LA
This past Saturday afternoon, Angelenos were dancing in the streets of Downtown LA for a worthy pedestrian cause. An idea that LA resident Luke Klipp came up with, #jaydancingLA was a way for Angelenos fed up with the LAPD’s crack down on jaywalking to express their civil disobedience in a fun, artistic, and of course, legal way. Joined by Los Angeles Walks founder Deborah Murphy with upbeat music pumping on portable speakers, jaydancers disco-ed and grooved their way through the crosswalks of 7th and Hope in the middle of the Financial District attracting attention from not only pedestrians, but ironically, drivers themselves.
Several months behind schedule, the roof is finally coming off at The Bloc in Downtown LA. What was scheduled to happen sometime in late February, the expansive atrium roof made of metal and glass that covered the front entrance to the former Macy’s Plaza started dismantling work in late May. However, it wasn’t until early last week that construction workers really started to tear off the roof piece by piece exposing a skeletal frame structure that now reveals the sky above. Standing next to the front entrance, even with all the messy construction going on, one can really get an exciting glimpse into what this place will be like once it completes its transformation into an outdoor shopping center filled with urban life and activity.
Now this is how you activate LA Live! By turning it into a community gathering spot in Downtown LA for all Angelenos. And that’s exactly what happened this past Friday when the popular Dark Nights event — as part of LA Live’s new “Summer in the City” events — successfully drew in thousands to come hang out at AEG’s flagship entertainment hub anchored in South Park. According to event organizers Melissa Richardson Banks of Downtown Muse and Edgar Varela of WeAreDTLA, over 20,000 people attended Dark Nights between 6 pm to 10 pm.
DTLA Rising has just learned that Karl Strauss Brewing Co — one of the original microbreweries credited for putting San Diego on the map in the craft brewing industry — has just signed a long term lease to open a brewery restaurant here in Downtown LA’s Financial District. The handcrafted beer chain with currently 8 locations all in Southern California (mostly in San Diego obviously) will be taking over a cavernous
9,000 13,500 square foot vacant space at the 600 Wilshire office tower (basically, where Wilshire and Grand intersect). Formerly a Bank of America branch, then a potential Ruth’s Chris steakhouse that never went through, the amazing space with ultra-high ceilings and lots of huge windows wrapping around will provide an incredible space for Karl Strauss to work with.