Category Archives: downtown los angeles

Coming Soon: New Liberty Travel “Hyperstore” to Open in Downtown LA

A new Liberty Travel hyperstore inspired by Apple stores is slated to open early next year in Downtown LA's Financial District

A new Liberty Travel hyperstore inspired by Apple stores is slated to open early next year in Downtown LA’s Financial District

Brisbane, Australia-based travel agency, Flight Centre USA (FC USA), is planning to open a “hyperstore” of its Liberty Travel brand in Downtown LA by early next year. This new exciting concept will bring to Los Angeles a different and more dynamic way of interacting with your travel agency. The very first hyperstore opened in New York in late 2012 with a 10,000 square foot space on Madison Ave. The second hyperstore opened in Boston in late 2013. Los Angeles will be the first west coast city to open a Liberty Travel hyperstore upgrading from its current smaller store location near 7th and Flower in the Financial District.

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Ugly Rite Aid Store Gets Pretty Makeover in Downtown LA, Introduces Wellness Concept

The Rite Aid at 7th/Hope in Downtown LA has completed a significant remodeling job transforming it into the company's new "Wellness concept" creating a higher quality shopping experience

The Rite Aid at 7th/Hope in Downtown LA has completed a significant remodeling job transforming it into the company’s new “Wellness concept” creating a higher quality shopping experience

Drugstores are ubiquitous and a daily part of life in most large city centers in America. Go to New York and you won’t be more than a block or two away from a Duane Reade store. Go to Chicago and the same is true for Walgreens (which actually owns Duane Reade). Even internationally speaking in Taipei (where my dad lives), you’re never too far from a Watsons store. Here in our growing Downtown LA, we have two Rite Aid stores — one at 7th/Hope and one at 5th/Broadway — and both stores have been a complete let down, unfortunately. The one at 5th and Broadway has been a huge thorn in the side of downtown revitalization as residents nearby have continuously complained about the store’s shoddy appearance and lack of concern toward the “shady activities” that take place right outside their front door. Some have even called it a “cesspool.” That’s why it’s so exciting for me to find out that some real positive changes are finally coming. In fact, half of it is already here. The Rite Aid store at 7th/Hope, which was the lesser of two evils, has just completed a, dare I say, beautiful remodeling job that has changed the shopping experience there completely.

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Downtown LA Hall of Justice of Charles Manson Infamy to Reopen Early 2015

The 1925 Hall of Justice, which once held the infamous Charles Manson, is slated to reopen in early 2015 after an extensive $234 million retrofit and modernization project

The 1925 Hall of Justice, which once held the infamous Charles Manson, is slated to reopen in early 2015 after an extensive $234 million retrofit and modernization project

One of the most magnificent civic structures in all of LA is close to reopening after being shut down for two decades since the 1994 Northridge earthquake left the building red tagged due to severe damage. Fortunately, the 1925 Hall of Justice designed in the Beaux Arts style was not demolished. Instead, the county-owned structure located in LA’s civic center — once the headquarters for the sheriff, district attorney, and coroner — was saved after almost a decade of fundraising efforts spearheaded by former Sheriff Lee Baca that started in 2004.

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Topaz: New Mixed-User Breaks Ground in Historic Core in Downtown LA

A rendering of Topaz as seen from Main Street with ground floor retail and corner/penthouse units having balconies (Photo: TSK)

A rendering of Topaz as seen from Main Street with ground floor retail and corner/penthouse units having balconies (Photo: TSK)

A rendering of Topaz on the Los Angeles Street side with a large "light curtain" seen in the center cutout of the building (Photo: TSK)

A rendering of Topaz on the Los Angeles Street side with a large “light curtain” seen in the center cutout of the building (Photo: TSK)

With the exception of the Medallion apartments at 4th/Main, there have been no ground-up market rate housing developments built in the Historic Core in Downtown LA. Pretty much all new lofts and condos in the Historic Core that have come on the market over the last decade have been conversion projects taking advantage of the adaptive reuse ordinance. All that’s about to change, however, as numerous high-rise projects have been proposed in the Historic Core that will be the next evolution of Downtown LA’s urban revitalization, filling in all those anti-pedestrian surface parking lots. We won’t have to wait too long for some action because the exciting new chapter for the Historic Core begins now with Topaz, a new mixed-user, that broke ground last Friday near 6th/Main.

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Big Sugar Bakeshop Now Open at Pegasus Apartments in Downtown LA

Mary Odson, the owner of Big Sugar Bakeshop, opened her second location in the heart of the Financial District downtown

Mary Odson, the owner of Big Sugar Bakeshop, opened her second location in the heart of the Financial District downtown

Back in April, we were excited to announce that one of the most popular bakeries from The Valley — Studio City to be exact — was opening at the beautiful Welton Becket-designed Pegasus Apartments in Downtown LA. Four months later, Big Sugar Bakeshop opened last week near the corner of Wilshire and Flower next door to Caffe Primo. The petite 600 square foot space (but with ultra-high ceilings!) is packed with yummy goodness that goes beyond just cupcakes where you’ll find favorites like red velvet and the doughnut muffin. In fact, Big Sugar has established a reputation since its inception in 2006 for being a “one stop shop” where you can pick up not only a cake, but a few more cupcakes and cookies as well as greeting cards and other small gift items. In addition, Groundwork coffee is served that’s been perfect for early morning office workers who work nearby.

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Downtown LA’s Watermarke Tower Sells for Record Breaking $160.5 Million

The Watermarke Tower at 9th/Flower in South Park was sold to ASB Real Estate Investments for a record breaking price of $160.5 million

The Watermarke Tower at 9th/Flower in South Park was sold to ASB Real Estate Investments for a record breaking price of $160.5 million

We all know the Downtown LA real estate market is already hot, but it just got way hotter in here. Escrow closed yesterday on Watermarke Properties’ trophy property, Watermarke Tower, in South Park selling for a record breaking price of $160.5 million. Purchased by Bethesda, MD-based ASB Real Estate Investments (they also just bought a huge property in the Arts District), the 35-story luxury apartment high-rise with 214 units is apparently the most expensive apartment community sold in the state of California — ever. To be specific, it is one of, if not the state’s most expensive trade based on a per unit basis coming in at approximately $750,000 for each unit. The deal was brokered by HFF Managing Director Mark Peterson.

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Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse Replacing Roy’s in Downtown LA

The delectable high-end Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chão from Sao Paulo, is opening in what used to be the Roy's Hawaiian Fusion space at 8th/Figueroa

The delectable high-end Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chão from Sao Paulo, is opening in what used to be the Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion space at 8th/Figueroa

About a year and a half ago, I celebrated my birthday at Fogo de Chão in Beverly Hills. It was my first time there and I was really impressed by how good it was as a meat lover. And because I’m always trying to get more businesses to open in Downtown LA, I just had to ask if they were looking to open another location in downtown! Funny enough, the manager of the restaurant was very open with me and told me that they were planning to open around Staples Center and LA Live. He gave no timeline but said they were definitely interested. Well, a year and a half later, they have finally found their perfect spot not too far from where they wanted to be right at 8th/Figueroa in the Financial District replacing the shuttered Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion space next door to Local Table.

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Brigham Yen on FOX 11: Downtown LA High-Rise Boom, Broadway Road Diet, Trader Joe’s Coming?

Yesterday was so much fun. I was invited by FOX 11 to come on their noon show to talk about Downtown LA (my favorite subject of course) and all the newest exciting things happening that are putting our once ignored urban center back on the map. Check out the video above and here are the topics we covered:

  • New high-rises proposed in the Historic Core
  • New developments blocking sidewalks an issue for pedestrians
  • Broadway’s amazing road diet and pedestrian plazas
  • Retail continues with Macy’s Plaza $180 million makeover
  • And Trader Joe’s rumors!

Thank you again so much to FOX 11 News!

Meet 8th+Hope in Downtown LA: South Park’s New Gleaming 22-Story Glass Apartment High-Rise

8th+Hope is a new gleaming glass tower in South Park adding 290 rental units to the downtown market

8th+Hope is a new gleaming glass tower in South Park adding 290 rental units to the downtown market

Almost two years after developer Wood Partners first began construction, the new 8th+Hope apartment tower began accepting resident move-ins earlier this month in August. Designed by Atlanta-based The Preston Partnership, the modern gleaming tower clad throughout in blue-green glass rises 22 stories high and adds another 290 rental units to the market including: 1, 2, and 2½ bedrooms with square footages ranging from 707 to 1,634. Every single unit gets a private balcony. Impressive.

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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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