Category Archives: downtown los angeles

Downtown LA’s Ralphs Fresh Fare Market Begins $2.5M Remodeling Project

Ralphs Fresh Fare opened in 2007 as the first mainstream grocery store in central Downtown LA

Ralphs Fresh Fare opened in 2007 as the first mainstream grocery store in central Downtown LA

Ralphs Fresh Fare in Downtown LA is more than just a grocery store. Sure it’s one of the highest grossing Ralphs in their entire chain, but it’s also considered a major milestone in the history of Downtown LA’s urban revitalization. Before the supermarket opened in July 2007 at the corner of 9th/Flower in South Park, the small but growing population of new downtown residents really didn’t have anywhere to shop for groceries. It goes without saying that it was kind of a huge deal when Ralphs opened because it meant you could actually buy groceries without leaving downtown. That was critical for supporting the downtown population growth that allowed for more businesses to open. Now seven years later, Downtown LA is a much different place. You could say we’re finally coming to a tipping point of no return. When it comes to grocery stores, the competition is about to get heated soon. Not only did Smart & Final Extra open down the street from Ralphs last year, but next year a large 42,000 square foot Whole Foods will open just a few blocks away at 8th/Grand, and potentially a new Trader Joe’s will open at The Bloc also just up the street at 8th/Hope. As a result, Ralphs Fresh Fare is starting on an exciting $2.5 million remodeling project that will keep the grocery store attractive and competitive within downtown.

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The Must Wine Bar Returns Stronger than Ever; Reshapes Winston Street in Downtown LA

After closing in 2010, The Must came back stronger than ever, opening in a new location near the Toy District at Winston and Los Angeles (Photo: Brigham Yen)

After closing in 2010, The Must came back stronger than ever, opening in a new location near the Toy District at Winston and Los Angeles (Photo: Brigham Yen)

When The Must wine bar closed in 2010 as the result of a lease dispute, the downtown community was shocked and saddened. At the time, owners Rachel Thomas and Coly Den Haan promised the return of what had quickly become a neighborhood gathering place. After three years and the successful launch of an equally unique establishment (The Perch), the duo located the perfect space for a comeback of their original concept. In November 2013, The Must opened on the ground floor of The Jeffries Lofts, a historic residential conversion on Winston Street near the Old Bank District. Coming in at 4,300 Sq. feet, the new Must space is larger than its original; however it easily maintains the charm and welcoming feel that made it so popular when it first came onto the downtown scene in 2008. During my most recent visit, I had an opportunity to try a variety of menu items and came away happy with everything I tasted. Of course, I also saved room for my favorite dessert ever (The Fluffer Nutter), which I’ll get to later.

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L.A. LIVE Launches Downtown LA “Dark Nights” Beginning Fri Aug 22

LA Live

Dark Nights come alive at L.A. LIVE!

Celebrate summer in Downtown LA at DARK NIGHTS at L.A. LIVE on Friday, August 22 from 5 p.m. to late night. Enjoy $5 food & drink menus, $5 parking (or free bike valet) and live entertainment throughout the night. The local bands, DJs, live artists and entertainers will set the tone for this unique event. Bring friends and enjoy the night in DTLA!

For more info, including a list of the $5 menu items at participating restaurants, click here.

Renderings Revealed: New Trio of High-Rises Coming to Historic Core in Downtown LA

Hill Tower Lofts seen from the corner of 9th/Hill with the historic May Co garage in the foreground

Hill Tower Lofts: One of three new ground-up towers proposed for the Historic Core are set to break ground as soon as late 2015 (Photo: David Takacs Architecture)

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.

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Breaking News: Retail Giant GAP Coming to Broadway in Downtown LA

Giant clothing retailer Gap will be opening their first downtown store in a historic structure built in 1913 at 737 S Broadway

Giant clothing retailer Gap will be opening their first downtown store in a historic structure built in 1913 at 737 S Broadway

[Update 8/15/14: Per a job listing on glassdoor.com, we have learned that the new Gap store on Broadway will be the Gap Factory Store. There are currently a couple in the LA area in Downtown Burbank and the Citadel Outlets in Commerce.]

The rumors were right! DTLA Rising has learned that giant clothing retailer, Gap, has signed a lease at 737 S Broadway near the intersection of 8th/Broadway, not far from the new Urban Outfitters and close to all the other exciting new developments coalescing around the new Ace Hotel near 9th/Broadway. Gap will take up 8,500 square feet of ground floor retail space facing Broadway as part of a new redevelopment project for the historic structure built in 1913, which is also actively in the process of converting the upper floors to creative office space.

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Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Coming to Downtown LA: No Talking or Texting Allowed!

Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, with its strict no texting or talking policy, will be a very welcome addition to The Bloc in Downtown LA (Photos: getmyperks.com and The Bloc)

Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, with its strict no texting or talking policy, will be a very welcome addition to The Bloc in Downtown LA (Photos: getmyperks.com and The Bloc)

By now, most of you have probably heard that America’s new favorite movie chain, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, is coming to Downtown LA opening within The Bloc (formerly known as Macy’s Plaza), which is going through an exciting $180 million makeover. For me, I am particularly excited about Alamo finally making its way here because of their “ironclad” policy for no talking and texting during a movie. THANK YOU ALAMO! Where have you been all my life? One of my biggest pet peeves ever is going to the movies and having to deal with rude-inconsiderate people who text and sometimes even check/update their Facebook or Twitter while a movie is in progress. We’ve all sat near someone during a movie who just can’t seem to shut up, ruining the entire movie-going experience for all of us. I’ve even had the pleasure of sitting next to a guy who picked up his phone and actually had a full-on conversation (for about a whole minute) while the movie was playing. As a result, I usually end up with a ton of anxiety before a movie begins thinking: “Gee, I wonder how many people will be texting on their phone this time.”

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Green Grotto Juice Bar Coming Soon to the Broadway Spring Arcade in Downtown LA

Green Grotto Juice Bar will be opening later this year across from Gelateria ULI and Guisados at the Broadway Spring Arcade in Downtown LA

Green Grotto Juice Bar will be opening later this year across from Gelateria ULI and Guisados at the Broadway Spring Arcade in Downtown LA

The transformation of the Broadway Spring Arcade is finally picking up steam now! After years of dormancy, it’s finally starting to feel like the historic arcade is speeding up its revitalization process akin to what we’re seeing at the amazing Grand Central Market up the street. Just this week, the much anticipated Guisados tacos shop opened with great reception from the downtown community (aka long lines). And the long-long-stalled Royal Claytons to open across from Guisados will also begin construction soon. Now, a new healthy eatery will be opening this fall called Green Grotto Juice Bar that will begin construction this month in a space directly across from Gelateria ULI. “Coming soon” signs were posted on their windows earlier this week.

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Now Open: Guisados Brings Some of the “Best Tacos” to Historic Core in Downtown LA

Guisados' third location in Los Angeles is now open located at the Broadway Spring Arcade at 541 S Spring St

Guisados’ third location in Los Angeles is now open located at the Broadway Spring Arcade at 541 S Spring St

The long anticipated opening of Guisados is finally here. The local restaurant originally from Boyle Heights opened yesterday on Monday on the ground floor of the Broadway Spring Arcade facing Spring Street in the heart of the Historic Core. Like its two other locations (Boyle Heights and Echo Park), Guisados is known for having some of the best handmade tacos in LA with delicious flavors and fillings that change regularly with traditional homestyle braises on fresh handmade tortillas. With a motto like “In Tacos We Trust,” how can you go wrong? Some of their stand out tacos include the Steak Picado and Chicharron (pork fat braised in red chili sauce) as well as the Tinga de Pollo (shredded chicken topped with avocado). And of course, what Mexican meal is complete without a sweet cup of horchata to wash the food down?

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New Downtown LA CVS Drug Store Now Open at 7th and Spring

A new 13,800 square foot CVS has opened at the corner of 7th and Spring in the Historic Core of Downtown LA

A new 13,800 square foot CVS has opened at the corner of 7th and Spring in the Historic Core of Downtown LA

Announced back in Nov 2013, a brand new CVS drug store opened yesterday (on Sunday) on the southwest corner of 7th and Spring in the Historic Core. Located on the ground floor of the historic 1912 Van Nuys building—containing 299 senior housing units above—the new 13,800 square foot CVS store already has a dramatic new effect on the immediate corner. It’s kind of weird and wonderful at the same time to see a brand new store open with lots of people going in and out of a space that was once empty and lifeless for so long. A large red CVS sign sits above the main front entrance facing 7th Street directly across from the Bartlett lofts. Although this is technically CVS’s second location downtown (another small, long-forgotten CVS store is located at the very sad LA Mall in the Civic Center), it really feels like the first one given that hardly anyone has seen or heard of the other one before.

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Downtown LA’s New Double Marriott Hotels Bring a Boutique Sensibility to South Park

The new double-Marriott-under-one-roof (Courtyard and Residence Inn) in Downtown LA sparkles at night (Photo: Marriott)

The new double-Marriott-under-one-roof (Courtyard and Residence Inn) in Downtown LA sparkles at night (Photo: Marriott)

As Downtown L.A. continues its growth into a desirable destination for large conventions and visitors alike, it has become clear that the neighborhood is in need of additional hotel rooms. Expanding on the success of its JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels at the L.A. Live Campus, Marriott had doubled down on its investment in downtown with the recent opening of its dual brand Courtyard and Residence Inn property across the street at the corner of Olympic and Georgia Streets. Featuring 393 attractive rooms and modern amenities, the new property showcases a boutique aesthetic that is a welcome change from the more standardized look and feel of similar properties in more suburban locales.

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Downtown LA’s New H&M and Zara Stores Already Becoming Top Performers in Sales

As word gets out, Zara and H&M in Downtown LA have been increasing steadily in sales, boosting the stores to top performing locations within their respective chains

As word gets out, Zara and H&M in Downtown LA have been increasing steadily in sales, boosting the stores to top performing locations within their respective chains

Can you believe it’s only been less than two years since City Target first opened in Downtown LA back in late 2012? Before that, the idea of having any major retailer downtown was still considered a pipe dream. Sure it was “just another” Target, but to downtown residents, it meant a lot more to us. It meant we could finally buy an iPad or a vacuum cleaner without having to leave downtown for simple basic stuff. And who could’ve imagined that a year later, retailers that would usually only open on the Westside (like on Robertson, Melrose, or Beverly) were actually opening stores downtown (i.e., Acne Studios, Aesop, OAK NYC, etc.) creating the beginnings of a bona fide new shopping district. Thank goodness the retail momentum continues to grow stronger. In fact, two of the most recent exciting additions to Downtown LA—H&M and Zara, both the largest flagship stores in SoCal, which opened 3 months and 2 months ago respectively—are already doing better than anyone could’ve expected.

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LA Designer Jonny Cota’s Skingraft Relocating Flagship Store to 8th/Spring in Downtown LA

One of LA's hottest ascending designers, Jonny Cota, is opening his new flagship store at 8th/Spring in Downtown LA's Fashion District

One of LA’s hottest ascending designers, Jonny Cota, is opening his new flagship store at 8th/Spring in Downtown LA’s Fashion District

One of LA’s hottest ascending designers, Jonny Cota, is relocating his flagship store, Skingraft, from its current location at the Banco Popular building in the Old Bank District to 8th/Spring on the western edge of the Fashion District. The 2,600 square foot space couldn’t be more perfect for Skingraft, and when it opens, will contribute to this growing neighborhood not far from all the action happening at 9th/Broadway. Located on the ground floor of the Great Republic Lofts across from Terroni, the new space—long and horizontal—takes up almost the entire block along 8th Street and is lined with big beautiful windows, which will be used by the store to showcase their designs.

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Downtown LA Grand Central Market Transformed by New Food Stalls, Dinner Hours Added

Grand Central Market from 1917 is going thru an incredible transformation with new food concepts being added to the historic food hall

Grand Central Market from 1917 is going thru an incredible transformation with new food concepts being added to the historic food hall

A lot of positive attention has been showered on Broadway lately, especially near 9th/Broadway where some of the most exciting developments in LA have happened over the last year with the opening of Ace Hotel and esoteric high-end retailers we thought would never open in Downtown LA in a million years (i.e., Acne Studios, OAK NYC, Aesop, Tanner Goods, Austere, etc). But the revitalization of Grand Central Market at 3rd/Broadway is just as exciting and acts as the northern anchor to Broadway’s amazing come back. (Now we just have to fill in everything in between.) Over the last year, Grand Central Market has gone through an incredible transformation by adding a slew of new and exciting food stalls that makes the historic food hall from 1917 one of the coolest culinary hot spots in all of Southern California.

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New Stunning Flyover Video: Fall in Love with Downtown LA All Over Again

Downtown Los Angeles from Ian Wood on Vimeo.

There have been some pretty amazing video tributes to Downtown LA lately, like the beautiful 4-minute time-lapse video by TimeLAX that captured the glittering urban center that is our growing and revitalizing Downtown LA. Once abandoned and left for dead, Downtown LA is once again the center of pride for Angelenos. Now, there’s another new video sent to me by a downtown resident named Ian Wood that’s upped the ante on just how amazing Downtown LA can look on camera. Wood spent 2 months filming with a flying quadcopter “that looks a bit like a mutant chicken” equipped with a GoPro camera. What he captured and compiled into another 4-minute video (coupled with perfect music from Chassol) really will knock your socks off.

It made me fall in love with Downtown LA all over again — enjoy.

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New Downtown LA CVS Opening August 10; Fingers Crossed It Helps Improve Seedy Intersection

A new CVS Pharmacy drug store is opening at the corner of 7th/Spring in Downtown LA this coming August

A new CVS Pharmacy drug store is opening at the corner of 7th/Spring in Downtown LA this coming August

Last November, we found out that a new CVS Pharmacy drug store had signed a lease to take over the entire corner of the historic Van Nuys building at 7th and Spring in the heart of the Historic Core. This can be seen as a good and bad thing for those who live in downtown. Good because it’s always nice to have more options and variety to get your daily residential needs fulfilled. After all, CVS along with other drug store chains like Walgreens and Rite Aid are meant to be neighborhood serving retailers that are convenient and ubiquitous in established urban communities. However, this particular CVS can also be viewed as a bad thing because of its close proximity to Skid Row where homeless individuals are known to frequent these drug stores to purchase prescription drugs and alcohol. In the case of Rite Aid at 5th/Broadway, loitering in front of the store is a big issue along with drug dealers and other unpleasant “it’s-your-fault-for-moving-to-an-urban-downtown” experiences like getting beat up by random thugs!

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