The intersection of 9th/Broadway continues to push forward as one of the main epicenters of new retailers making a comeback in Downtown LA. This past Saturday, the high-end fashion French label A.P.C. (standing for “Atelier de Production et de Création”) finally opened its doors for business here helping to boost the intersection’s critical mass as it begins to take more concrete shape as a bona fide shopping destination. DTLA Rising first announced the rumors that A.P.C. was coming to Downtown LA a year and a half ago back in December of 2013. Replacing what used to be a nondescript art gallery (called Vista Art Galleria), the once forgettable space facing 9th Street has been transformed into a chic and modern fashion showroom and a head turner with a strong street presence.
Back in October 2014, Vancouver-based Holland Partner Group purchased a 39,000 square foot parking lot for $12.5 million on the northwest corner of 8th and Spring located on the cusp of the Historic Core and Fashion District. Less than a year later, we’re now getting some exciting details being revealed about a new ground-up tower that will rise here within this burgeoning urban neighborhood.
As we wait eagerly for high-end French label A.P.C. to open (hopefully) later this month near 9th and Broadway, we have yet another fashion forward brand from Australia that will be making this hot intersection into their new US flagship debut that is sure to make a lot of women very happy. First reported on Apparel News, the fast-fashion Aussie brand BNKR (pronounced “bunker”) will be opening their very first brick and mortar store outside of their only other store in Adelaide, Australia here in Downtown LA at the historic 1916 Blackstone building, which was a former department store converted to 82 lofts in 2010.
One of the most beautiful coffee spaces to open in Downtown LA, Santa Cruz-based Verve Coffee Roasters has debuted their first Los Angeles location in the up-and-coming Fashion District with a soft opening earlier today. The 1,600 square foot cafe faces Spring Street with an expansive glass entrance set back within the historic Primrose Design Building allowing for a spectacular outdoor patio seating area that’s intimately tucked away and covered from wall-to-wall-to-ceiling with living green vegetation.
Fashionistas rejoice! A new upscale women’s boutique called AltHouse just opened a couple of months ago at 8th and Main, pushing the new downtown development momentum east into the Fashion District. The new shop, located next door to Skingraft’s also new flagship store, adds to an exciting shopping district in the making within the Historic Core, which includes other nearby stores like Nudie Jeans, Urban Outfitters, Acne Studios, and APC’s new downtown location opening this spring. AltHouse offers a unique experience in both the brands it carries and the beautiful space it occupies.
Wow that was fast. It only took less than 4 months to go from announcement to opening. The upscale Brazilian BBQ chain Fogo de Chao soft opened last Sunday, Dec 28 just before New Year’s Eve. Located at 8th and Figueroa in the Financial District, construction started on the massive 8,120 square foot restaurant space replacing Roy’s, which shuttered this past summer after almost a decade run. For meat lovers, this place is heaven. Fogo is known for their high quality meats including filet mignon and lamb chops among many other yummy cuts.
For the longest time, it seemed like Spring Street was having all the coffee fun with so many cafes opening up over the last few years from indie sweet spots like Spring for Coffee and Tierra Mia to corporate Starbucks. Now, add another one to the list of growing coffee shops in the Historic Core, this time a couple blocks over near 6th/Los Angeles St. Elabrew Coffee just opened earlier this month and is already the new neighborhood go-to cafe for local residents looking for something new to try. Located directly across the street from Hero Shop (where you get the “perfect banh mi“), this is Elabrew’s second and funkier location with the original one still in Santa Monica near the future Bergamot Expo Line station.
Relocating to a higher profile location, Skingraft opened its new beautiful flagship store last week at the corner of 8th and Spring on the edge of the Fashion District. The LA-based designer, Jonny Cota, had opened his first store in the Banco Popular building near 4th and Main (up the street) in 2006, and since then, has grown in stature within the fashion world showing for the second time at New York Fashion Week. The “LA leather laden brand” as Racked LA calls it has become increasingly popular with the celeb set including Rihanna and A$AP Rocky.
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.
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.
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.
People think of Downtown LA as a place for either professionals who work in suits in big skyscrapers or the creative set living in cool hip lofts above funky bars perhaps on Spring Street or in the Arts District. Singles and couples attracted to urban living, the usual suspects you know? But something you don’t expect to see downtown is a growing number of parents with kids living in those cool hip lofts. Many parents have decided to continue living in the urban center even though it seems most downtown residents who decide to have children usually end up moving out to the suburbs. Seeing more and more parents pushing their strollers down the sidewalks of Downtown LA says a lot about the changing demographics and what it means for the future. And now that group of urban-loving parents reluctant to move to suburbia are taking matters into their own hands by creating services and amenities geared for families. A perfect example is the amazing new K-2nd Metro Charter School in South Park that was started by a dedicated group of downtown parents who wanted a high quality education for their downtown-based children. And now that’s why I’m so excited to see a new children’s retail store called, “Around the Globe Kid’s Center,” opening on Broadway just south of Olympic Blvd.
This past Friday, another heavy hitting retailer was added to 9th and Broadway, the rapidly evolving intersection and epicenter of Broadway’s amazing revitalization comeback. The Australian apothecary and beauty skincare line, Aesop, opened at 11 am and joins a growing list of upscale retail shops and other businesses helping to transform this once seedy and desolate area into the next hottest destination in Downtown LA.
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.”
The intersection of 9th and Broadway is hot, hot, hot! OAK NYC quietly opened its LA flagship store earlier today on Saturday on the ground floor of Tarina Tarantino’s Sparkle Factory. It wasn’t that long ago when this intersection was sadly forlorn and dominated by swap meets and check cashing centers. Now, it’s transforming into the epicenter of high fashion retail in Downtown LA with powerful ripple effects being felt throughout the country (and world) where even exclusive fashion circles are taking notice. The writing is on the wall: Downtown LA is coming back, and it’s coming back strong with a vengeance.