This past weekend was the official launch of the Arts District Flea, which is a permanent indoor flea market located at 453 Colyton Street just a short block west from the central gathering hub otherwise known as Urth Caffe. The three-day event started on Friday and attracted hundreds of people throughout the weekend ending on Sunday. The high turn out shows the kind of demand there is for community oriented events like this in a rapidly growing Arts District. Local vendors and artisans from throughout Los Angeles (and many from the Arts District itself) set up stalls in the cavernous 15,000 square foot industrial warehouse space with concrete floors and 14.5 foot high exposed wood-beam ceilings. With a capacity for up to 60 separate vendors (each stall is 8′ x 8′), the Arts District Flea will continue to offer a dynamic and wide range of both new and vintage items for sale.
Category Archives: economic development
Walking along Spring Street between 7th and 8th is still sort of a bummer for a pedestrian. It’s one block along an otherwise vibrant Spring St that’s in serious need of help because it’s rudely interrupted by a bunch of ugly surface parking lots and a serious lack of ground floor retail activation. In other words, it’s pretty dead. Even so, some early signs of positive change for this block include eateries like Juice Crafters and Fresh Panini as well as the forthcoming Spring Ivy next to the renovated Corporation Building into creative office. Oh, and we’re crossing our fingers that the new CVS at 7th/Spring won’t turn into another “Ride Aid” (looking at you 5th/Broadway). But what about those pesky parking lots that suck pedestrian life out of city blocks? That’s why I’m super excited to learn that one of the largest parking lots left along Spring St (at 8th adjacent to the 168-unit historic Chapman Lofts) is now being marketed to developers in search of “one of the last remaining development sites in Downtown Los Angeles.”
Since Urban Outfitters and Acne Studios opened on Broadway in late December of last year, a whirlwind of new retailers have setup shop almost overnight nearby 9th and Broadway and the new Ace Hotel. OAK NYC, Tanner Goods, Aesop, and A.P.C. to name a few. But all up and down Broadway is fair game for other retailers including the apparent signing of Burlington Coat Factory at 7th/Broadway. Now, rumors are picking up that other large well-known brands – which once eschewed Downtown LA like the plague — have not only taken notice of all this new retail activity, but are actively looking for suitable spaces in Downtown LA as well. Where? Specifically along retail-conducive streets like Broadway and 7th Street where large redevelopment projects like The Bloc and Wilshire Grand Tower continue to generate buzz. Names like Gap, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Forever 21, and Anthropologie have all come up as brands searching or eyeing Downtown LA. No exact locations are yet confirmed for any of these brands, but the fact is, eventually they will find a home here. Only a matter of time. Also, within the next month or so, both Zara and H&M will be opening their exciting new LA flagship stores at FIGat7th that will further add fuel to the growing retail fire in Downtown LA.
A very, very exciting mixed-use project is in the early planning stages over in El Pueblo just north of the 101 freeway and south of Chinatown, which is the historic birthplace of Downtown LA, and to a greater extent, the birthplace of Los Angeles itself. In fact, the oldest residence still standing in Los Angeles, Avila Adobe built in 1818, remains one of Downtown LA’s main visitor attractions located on historic Olvera Street within El Pueblo. Now, exciting plans are taking shape to further enhance and strengthen El Pueblo allowing for both visitors and Angelenos alike to embrace and appreciate the historic value of the district. A non-profit foundation based in El Pueblo called LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes is currently in the process of selecting a developer to build two mixed-use projects, named “LA Plaza Cultura Village,” on two county-owned parking lots just west of the foundation’s headquarters on Main Street that will connect El Pueblo to its surrounding communities including Chinatown and Union Station.
Stephen Kane Running for DLANC: “Safer Streets, Redoing Pershing Square, More Transit” in Downtown LA
By Stephen Kane
It’s no longer a secret: DTLA is on the verge of becoming a great urban core once again. Promise and opportunity abound in this rapidly growing community, but so do the challenges that we must address in order to keep downtown on the right path and direction. As we continue to grow and evolve, we will increasingly wrestle with who we are and what we aspire to be.
Did you grow up in the age of classic gaming (like me) in the 80s and 90s when going to the arcade was an absolute integral part of life? Remember the good ol’ days of lining up quarters on the arcade console waiting eagerly for your turn to challenge the “unbeatable” incumbent player on games like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat? For me, it was all about Chun Li: “Yatta!” Walking into EightyTwo, now open in the Arts District in Downtown LA, is like taking a trip back in time when arcade game consoles were ubiquitous (7-Elevens used to be the hang out spot after school right?).
Some very exciting news coming out of South Park that will help enliven the streets just a little bit more. Just two blocks from the Staples Center, an existing parking structure at 11th and Hope that currently houses two restaurants on the ground floor — Il Mare and Arashi Sushi — will be expanding its commercial retail space for lease by another 11,200 square feet. The 5-story parking structure with 598 spaces will be converting the ground level parking area along Hope Street into retail and restaurant space. Essentially, the entire perimeter of the parking structure will be wrapped with commercial spaces with a focus on adding new eateries. You lose a little bit of parking to benefit the growing community with neighborhood serving businesses that make living in Downtown LA enjoyable and convenient. I call that a win-win.
NBC 4 News Follow-up to DTLA Rising’s Coverage on Downtown LA’s Library Tower Going Hotel/Residential
Watch NBC 4 News story about Library Tower going hotel/residential in Downtown LA
In case you missed it last week, LA’s NBC 4 local news ran a cool follow-up story to DTLA Rising’s recent exclusive coverage of Library Tower in the early feasibility planning stages of becoming one of the largest adaptive-reuse projects in Downtown LA history. The 73-story office high-rise is still the tallest skyscraper west of Chicago and a big portion of it could become residential and hotel along with an exciting and much desired observation deck for visitors to LA. Reporter Jane Yamamoto mentions in the newscast a very interesting new detail regarding when we might learn more about this possible exciting hotel/resi conversion project!
Broadway is now the center of attention in Downtown LA when it comes to urban revitalization. The 1.5 mile stretch through the heart of downtown contains arguably the most architecturally significant collection of historic buildings in Southern California with its impressive 12 movie theatre palaces (one of them, the Rialto, recently converted to a fancy Urban Outfitters) and stand-out edifices like the gorgeous art deco Eastern Columbia and the infinitely ornate Bradbury Building built in 1893. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Broadway’s historic gems still remain in bad shape covered in decades worth of neglect with caked layers of grime, filth, and pollution. One of the most important parts of cleaning up Broadway is not only to activate the ground floor with high quality shops and eateries, but to also activate the upper floors with creative office spaces among other viable commercial usages. It’s something LA Councilman Jose Huizar’s office is pushing for through an updated “commercial adaptive reuse ordinance.” And that’s why I’m so excited to see a new coworking space called BLANKSPACES open on the upper floor of a historic building near 5th/Broadway. It gives me a glimpse of what else we can expect to see for the future of Broadway’s upper floors.
After more than two and a half years of construction, Chinatown’s very first market rate housing development called Jia Apartments is now officially open. Developed, owned, and managed by Equity Residential, the new mixed-use project — with a new Starbucks opening in early April and a couple more restaurants in lease negotiations — rises six stories adjacent to the striking Chinatown gateway with its twin golden dragons guarding the Broadway entry. Jia Apartments, which cost $93 million to develop, signals a new economic incline for Chinatown as more money is being invested into this northern district of Downtown LA. Finally, Chinatown joins the rest of downtown’s development wave that has reinvigorated the city center with new life and regional relevancy.
Several independent sources have informed me that some very big and exciting changes are in the preliminary planning stages for Library Tower in Downtown LA. Last year, Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower) was purchased by Singapore-based Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE) for $367.5 million from MPG according to the LA Times. The 73-story office high-rise stands at 1,018 feet tall and still holds the title of tallest skyscraper west of Chicago. However, Library Tower also has one of the highest office vacancies downtown hovering at around 45% (that’s 585,000 square feet of empty space out of 1.3 million total). In an effort to turn the property around and raise the profile of OUE’s new LA acquisition, the Asian investment company had to think outside of the box as the office market has been stubbornly soft and more and more companies are shying away from traditional office space in favor of creative spaces. But wait a minute: everyone knows that the red hot economic engine downtown has involved both residential and hotel developments. Aha!
Watch Onni’s 32-story apartment tower u/c rise halfway up in just 21 seconds!
Downtown resident, Aileen Viray, sends in this cool time-lapse video she put together — starting last November and ending just last week in February — tracking the progress at 9th and Olive where Onni’s new apartment tower is actively under construction. The high-rise has now risen exactly halfway up with work starting on the 17th floor (out of 32 floors total). Construction has been humming at the site since Jan 2013 just over a year ago when groundbreaking commenced. Vancouver-based Onni Group is developing this new mixed-use apartment tower, currently dubbed 888 Olive St., and will eventually bring to market 283-units for rent and add 11,000 square feet of retail space to the corner intersection.
Last week, I got an awesome tour of Union Station from Metro’s Deputy Executive Officer of Countywide Planning, Jenna Hornstock. I learned about some very exciting changes coming to the busiest rail station west of the Mississippi. Basically, you have two different timelines for planned improvement projects: short term and long term changes. Both are very exciting because it means Union Station is going to get better and better and play a much more prominent and vital role in our region’s growing mass transit network.
This past Valentine’s Day was another major, major milestone in Downtown LA’s continued march forward toward urban renewal and revitalization. The Metropolis project, which is a 6.3 acre development site (currently an ugly surface parking lot) on the western edge of downtown abutting the 110 freeway, held a ceremonial ground breaking event that finally secured the fate of the long-delayed project.
Ninth and Broadway just got even more exciting this weekend with the opening of Tanner Goods this past Sunday afternoon. The new Tanner Goods store in Downtown LA is only the second one outside of Portland, Oregon. The boutique is about 1,000 square feet large with soaring high ceilings giving the store a beautiful and spacious industrial ambiance. For those unfamiliar with the brand, Tanner Goods is a maker of leather goods including bags, wallets, gloves, and belts. However, you’ll find more than just accessories as a full line of clothing attire and shoes are stocked as well from various brands including Norse Projects from Denmark, Tellason denim and Tanner Goods’ own clothing line called The Woodlands.