Today was a very exciting day for urban advocates in Los Angeles! Transit accessibility and convenience went up a great notch with the opening of Metro’s first pedestrian tunnel that links the busy 7th/Metro Center subway station — actually the busiest station in Los Angeles — directly into a private commercial property, and in this case, the shopping center known as The Bloc.
Super exciting news for Downtown LA’s growing retail scene! One of the biggest names in fashion retail has committed to opening a new store in Downtown LA, which has been experiencing an explosion of new development not seen since the 1920s construction boom. I am so excited to announce that the very popular Nordstrom Rack has just finalized a lease to open their first downtown store at the FIGat7th shopping center located in the heart of the Financial District.
DTLA is about to “eat mor chikin.” America’s most lucrative fast food restaurant chain is finally coming to Downtown LA opening in the heart of the Financial District. According to Business Insider, Chick-Fil-A generates the highest revenue per restaurant over any other fast food chain in the country. It’s also apparently the most popular fast food chain in the country, even surprisingly, besting the venerated In-N-Out Burger in recent customer survey rankings.
Not all exciting developments have to be large-scale mega projects (although what DTLA fan isn’t absolutely thrilled by all the recent high-rise proposals from South Park to the Civic Center to the Arts District?). For me, I am often just as excited by the smaller-scale urban developments happening on the ground level that’s focused on enhancing the pedestrian experience, and in this case, what’s happening underground. After speaking to two different Metro contractors onsite, they both have told me that the new Metro pedestrian tunnel linking the 7th/Metro Center subway station to The Bloc shopping center will be completed early next month!
Wow, time sure does fly. I can’t believe it’s already been a year and half since DTLA Rising first announced that Karl Strauss — the local brewery founded in San Diego in 1989 — was opening its main Los Angeles flagship location here in Downtown LA (there’s another one in Universal City Walk). We’ve all been waiting eagerly for another eatery to activate a once desolate corner in the middle of Downtown LA’s Financial District. Well, the wait is finally over as Karl Strauss is now officially open for beer and foodie lovers alike.
Ramen fans rejoice! Another place to grab a hot yummy bowl of Japanese ramen is coming to the heart of Downtown LA’s Financial District. You might remember almost two years ago, I was super excited that 3rd Generation was the first eatery to bring a good attempt at authentic ramen to the Financial District (check out the slurping good pics here), and now we’re finally gonna get more than just one place to grab ramen here in the FiDi (never hurts to have more options I might add when it comes to variations of food).
The good news just keeps on coming for 7th Street! Last week, we broke the news that the ever-so-popular Halal Guys, which has become a nationally recognized name starting from its humble beginnings as a street cart in NYC, signed a lease to replace the former Brigade LA clothing store near 7th/Olive. And now this week another exciting eatery development is taking place less than two blocks away also on 7th Street.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a HUGE fan of the original Halal Guys from New York, which started out in 1990 at 53rd and 6th Ave in the heart of Midtown. The first time I tried it back in 2003, I became a fan immediately. Even so, to be frank, I was skeptical that they could translate those delicious platters of chicken and gyro meat with rice to a brick and mortar format and still be able to keep that authentic “street cart” flavor intact. Boy, was I glad I was wrong. After trying multiple Halal Guys in various places (Costa Mesa, Koreatown, and even Las Vegas), I’ve consistently enjoyed it every time. It’s become one of my favorite go-to spots for fast and delicious casual food that always hits the spot. That’s why I’m SUPER excited Halal Guys is planning to open their first DTLA location next year here along 7th Street!
This past Labor Day weekend, something exciting happened in Downtown LA while many were probably out of town or perhaps completely unaware (but should be!). The 73-story, AC Martin-designed Wilshire Grand Tower, located at 7th and Figueroa — one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in Southern California — officially became the tallest skyscraper on the West Coast (taking the title away from another DTLA landmark, the US Bank/Library Tower) when construction workers lifted and secured the final piece of the tower’s soaring signature spire — a first of its kind in all of Los Angeles known for its flat-roofed skyscrapers.
As a resident of Downtown LA’s South Park district, it’s been frustrating for me to always have to leave downtown to eat. To me, there’s truly a lack of good and affordable eateries nearby that I can have on my regular go-to list. Most restaurants that have opened downtown in general in the last several years have been trendy and pricey establishments that are fantastic at attracting outsiders to come dine in Downtown LA, but not really geared toward full-time residents like myself. That’s why anytime there’s a new restaurant that opens downtown that’s good and affordable, it gets me all extra excited! If you live or work downtown, especially in South Park and the Financial District, you have to put this on your regular rotation: Eko Eats at 6th and Hope.
Downtown LA, an urban center still starved of various shopping options and other retail amenities, has been eagerly and anxiously awaiting for the completion of The Bloc. The massive $180 million remodeling project, which sits squarely in the middle of the bustling Financial District, has been delayed for almost a year (it was “supposed to be” done last November). Even so, the project has slowly started to come to life with the recent opening of the interior courtyard (once covered by an ugly atrium) and the beautiful makeovers inside Macy’s and the newly upgraded Sheraton Grand Hotel. In addition, it’s exciting to see that one of the shopping center’s original tenants, LA Fitness, has also relocated its once tired space into a brand new one that reflects the new downtown.
A relative newcomer to the Downtown LA dining scene, Miro is making a big statement in the Financial District. Occupying the highly visible corner of Figueroa and Wilshire, the restaurant has transformed a pleasant, if somewhat unremarkable space into a real showstopper. As the former home of Cucina Rustica and an office for the Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) before that, Miro and the building it occupies illustrate the dramatic and ongoing transformation of the Financial District and Downtown LA as a whole. When the Wilshire Grand Tower debuts across the street next year, this intersection will be unrecognizable.
It’s here! The much loved Taiwanese bakery 85ºC is officially open in Downtown LA at the corner of Wilshire and Hope in the heart of the Financial District. A soft opening event yesterday attracted hundreds of downtown office workers and residents as they lined up excited to try out the delicious pastries and drinks the bakery is known for (each person was allowed to choose three free items as part of the soft opening event). The line stretched half way down the block along Wilshire Blvd with many I spoke to in line trying 85 Degrees for the first time. Judging by the happy smiles on everyone’s faces, I wouldn’t be surprised if the bakery just gained a whole bunch of new regular customers.
I can’t believe it’s been almost 4 years since we reported that Sport Chalet signed on as one of the first major retailers to join what was then a newly remodeled FIGat7th shopping center. Now with the sporting goods chain announcing last week that it will be closing all 47 stores, including the Downtown LA flagship, this gives us an opportunity to fill in the gap that will be left behind with something else really great for the downtown community!
Cross Campus has become one of the most successful coworking spaces founded in Los Angeles. The first Cross Campus opened in Santa Monica in 2012 catering to the robust tech sector found in Silicon Beach with another location opening in Old Pasadena in late 2014. Now the biggest Cross Campus yet is slated to open in the next month in the heart of Downtown LA’s bustling Financial District, which is now surrounded by frenetic economic activity all around.