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.
Category Archives: economic development
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.
A brand new shiny Walgreens just opened this past Friday at the crime ridden intersection of 5th and Broadway — a part of Downtown LA’s Historic Core that has resisted change from its gang and drug infested past even as the rest of downtown continues to revitalize. The grand opening on Jan 31 at 10 am was an event marked with DJ music, balloons, free food samples, and lots of smiles and cheer. The celebratory mood inside stood in stark contrast to the seedy elements that still lurked outside as the daily east-west migratory pattern from Skid Row to Pershing Square continued as usual uninterrupted. However, given Walgreens’ different operating strategy from “the problem” Rite Aid across the street, the new Chicago-based drug store is hopefully a sign of more positive changes to come for one of Downtown LA’s worst intersections.
The historic Olympic Theatre located near the NW corner of 8th and Broadway is now available for lease as a unique flagship retail space opportunity along the exciting Broadway retail corridor. Built in 1927, the 600-seat theater was originally called Bard’s Eighth Street Theatre but was renamed Olympic Theatre in 1932 to commemorate the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Today, the space is once again ready to shine as Downtown LA continues to attract national and international retailers at an unprecedented rate. This retail space is ideal for a retailer with a unique identity and brand.
Full details below ↓
With 292 locations in five states, one of the most popular burger joints in the country, In-N-Out Burger, is also on the top of Downtown LA’s wish list (along with the elusive Trader Joe’s). Vegetarians aside, who doesn’t crave a juicy double-double with fresh cut fries on the side every now and then? Well, sadly, the burger chain that was born in the suburbs of LA (in Baldwin Park in 1948) may never outgrow its suburban roots to open in the heart of Los Angeles. When asked if In-N-Out would consider opening an urban location in Downtown LA, the answer was an adamant “No.”
In-N-Out Burger would prefer to stick to the suburbs.
There’s always that one pioneer that starts it all. Almost a decade and half ago, Pete’s Cafe was the lone eatery in the Old Bank District before the area became Josef Centeno’s culinary empire. Then in 2008 Bottega Louie set the precedent (and the bar high) for 7th Street, which became Downtown LA’s Restaurant Row. When it comes to retail, that’s exactly what Daniel Patrick is doing for the southern portion of Broadway (south of Olympic Blvd) where the area — the cusp of South Park and the Fashion District — is still considered the fringe of downtown revitalization, but not for long.
A new independent clothing boutique called Pale Violet is now open at the northeast corner of 7th and Spring in the Historic Core contributing to a growing indie shopping district, what I sometimes think of as “the new Melrose of Los Angeles.” What started out as an online store, Pale Violet opened its first brick and mortar about two weeks ago carrying chic and fashionable clothing lines for women. Some highlighted brands include London’s Three Floor, Australia’s Cameo, New York’s Modern Vice, and Los Angeles’ Naven.
Behold! The most beautiful sight to see in all of Downtown LA: The historic 1917 Rialto Theatre neon marquee — dark for numerous decades due to sad urban decay — was relit tonight after successful restoration work by Urban Outfitters as the clothing retailer prepares for a grand opening on December 19, 2013. Readers of DTLA Rising sent in numerous photos from various angles showing the amazing restoration of the historic theater signage now brightly lit with neon tubes illuminating the block near 8th and Broadway. Truly a beacon of hope for the future of Broadway and the growing strength of Downtown LA urban revitalization.
More cool shots below!
Downtown LA scores two new office leases including the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and engineering consulting firm Buro Happold. That’s good news as we all know the more companies and jobs that move to Downtown LA, the stronger the Downtown LA economy will be overall. For instance, downtown office workers play a significant economic part when they spend their earned dollars locally at restaurants and retail stores, or even better, decide to rent/buy real estate downtown becoming actual residents and fulfilling the “live, work, and play” motto.
So while I was in Chicago last week for the ULI conference panel, I just had to stop by Pret A Manger for lunch, which is a healthy fast food concept (originally from the United Kingdom) offering delicious freshly made sandwiches including their own branded kettle chips and yummy fizzy carbonated drinks. While I was there, I asked the manager if Pret A Manger was ever coming to Los Angeles (because I want you guys so bad!). The manager provided some interesting tidbits that could be good news for Pret fans like myself.
There’s a lot of exciting changes coming to the historic 1924 Broadway-Spring Arcade Building in the near future. Some really exciting new eateries will be opening next year inside the arcade including: Royal Clayton’s, Guisados, and Gelateria Uli. The first sign of definitive change came last year when Famima (the Japanese convenience store) opened their sixth downtown location on the Broadway side of the arcade signaling a new direction away from swap meets and discount electronic stores. Now the first restaurant to open inside the arcade, Crepes Sans Frontieres, gives us a glimpse into the future with more eateries on the way.