Move over In-N-Out! If LA’s favorite homegrown burger chain absolutely refuses to open an urban store in Downtown LA (you can read more about why In-N-Out has decided not to open here), then we’ll be glad to embrace the East Coast counterpart — Shake Shack! Yes, those yummy (but kinda-pricey-compared-to-In-N-Out) burgers from New York City will be making their way to the southwest corner of 8th and Hill replacing the 801 Hill nightclub that currently operates in the space.
A historic building on 7th Street located in the very heart of the Jewelry District has just been sold to New York investor, Atlas Capital, for $14.7 million. Escrow closed on the three-story, 36,000 square foot structure — currently named the “International Jewelry Mart” — just before Thanksgiving, paving the way for new possibilities for another sadly dilapidated building in Downtown LA to be restored and repositioned as something more than just a shabby discount jewelry center. ALTC Realty represented the sellers and Industry Partners represented the buyers in the deal.
After several years of construction, Le Petit Paris made its debut at the base of the beautiful El Dorado Lofts building on Spring Street in September. The restaurant space is impressive both in terms of its sheer size and architectural details. Formerly the lobby of the once grand El Dorado hotel prior to residential conversion, the space been beautifully transformed into an expansive dining room. At the rear of the main dining area, the original lobby staircase serves as both a focal point of the space and an access point to a bar area and additional intimate seating nooks located on the mezzanine floor. Striking new crystal chandeliers line the ceiling, nicely complementing the original art deco details visible throughout the space.
It’s impossible to believe but after years and years of beyond-frustrating (and mysterious) extended delays that have lasted for more than a decade, the long-vacant Trinity Auditorium and Hotel Clark — two historic gems owned by NY-based Chetrit Group — are finally about to open early next year as two new boutique hotels under the Fën Hotels brand from South America. This time it looks like it’s for real, for real. Argentina-based Fën Hotels (with a NYC headquarters here in the USA) will open both of their hotel brands here in Downtown LA: the Dazzler and Esplendor. With only a handful of locations in the US (one in Brooklyn and two in Florida), Downtown LA will debut as Fën Hotels’ first locations on the West Coast.
By now many of us know that Apple has been looking to open a store in Downtown LA, which would obviously be a huge game changer on the retail side of downtown development. But the question on everyone’s mind has been where? Well, two locations have popped up over the past year as possible considerations: The Bloc in the Financial District and the Broadway Trade Center in the Historic Core. The latter being the more likely case. With that being said, now according to some new exciting “inside info” I’ve come across, there’s an even more amazing location that Apple is apparently looking at taking over: the historic Tower Theatre at 8th and Broadway.
Fans of Dunkin’ Donuts rejoice! I am happy to report that Downtown LA’s very first DD store is coming to the ground floor of the historic Hotel Olive located on the northeast corner of 8th and Olive on the cusp of the Financial District, Historic Core, and South Park. The new Dunkin’ Donuts will be about 2,000 square feet large and will take over the corner of the building with its store frontage mostly facing Olive Street replacing a couple of shuttered stores including Ramona’s Fashions.
The reopening of Clifton’s Cafeteria at 7th and Broadway may well be Downtown LA’s most highly anticipated restaurant opening for the entire year. After years and years (and millions and millions of dollars) of restoration work and upgrades, Clifton’s Cafeteria finally opened last week on October 1 bringing back one of LA’s most cherished historical establishments. In late 2010, local downtown restaurateur Andrew Meieran (The Edison) took over Clifton’s with a long-term 50-year lease with an option to buy. For the next five and a half years, Meieran painstakingly restored both the interior and exterior of the 5-story building, updating it with incredible detail without losing any of its historical charm and character.
Back in April of this year, DTLA Rising first reported that “another boutique hotel” was coming to 7th Street in Downtown LA’s moribund Jewelry District. The lucky building that will receive this new found investment, which was previously proposed for 165 new adaptive-reuse lofts, is the historic 1929 Foreman & Clark that was purchased in 2012 by a wealthy LA-based Korean doctor named Kyung Ku Cho. A reliable source had informed DTLA Rising that Cho’s group was speaking with New York’s Gansevoort Hotel but that the deal eventually fell through possibly due to internal disagreements.
It’s always good to see another dead zone parking lot replaced by a high quality development in Downtown LA helping to activate our growing urban center. Over at 9th and Hill on the southern edge of the Historic Core, a new exciting mixed-use tower is slated to rise on a parking lot on the northeast corner of the intersection adjacent to the highly anticipated Broadway Trade Center redevelopment project.
Seriously, we’ve been waiting forever for this historic gem to reopen ever since it was closed for rehab back in March 2011, which was almost 4.5 years ago! Since then, the new owner of Clifton’s Cafeteria, Andrew Meieran, has been hard at work restoring the venerated LA institution — like bringing back the beautiful neon lights — that’s been around since 1931 when it first started out as Clifton’s Brookdale Cafeteria named for the famous Brookdale Lodge near Santa Cruz. Now, it’s finally, finally really happening as a new “Clifton’s job fair” ad went up on Craigslist earlier today that will take place next Monday to hire new employees.
Another corner in the Historic Core gets a solid new business helping to push the momentum forward. A new Floyd’s 99 Barbershop opened exactly two weeks ago at 7th and Spring on the ground floor of the historic Bartlett Building taking over the corner retail space where Andrew Meieran’s short-lived vintage collectibles shop Kinetescape used to be.
What an auspicious time for Downtown LA to add another gay bar now totaling three including the New Jalisco. Just about a month after Downtown LA’s newest gay bar, Precinct, opened at 4th and Broadway as well as the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on same-sex marriage legalized across the country, Redline soft opened its doors earlier than expected on Tuesday evening this week at the intersection of 6th and Los Angeles. They were initially planning to open in early August.
The retail momentum continues on Broadway with the opening of Shiekh Shoes last Friday, July 10 and first reported their downtown arrival by DTLA Rising back in November 2014. Located near the very up-and-coming intersection of 8th and Broadway where Urban Outfitters, Gap Factory Store, and the Broadway Trade Center project are helping to redefine the block, Shiekh adds a nice sneaker and athletic attire option to a growing and diverse shopping district in the making.
With so many historic structures along Broadway still abandoned and/or underutilized, it will still be awhile before Broadway is brought up to speed. So that’s why it’s so important to get as many of these structures restored and activated as fast as possible to continue to push the downtown momentum forward. And that’s why I’m so glad to report that another new adaptive reuse project called the Parmelee Lofts is proceeding forward near 7th and Broadway that will add new rental housing and retail to the historic thoroughfare, helping to bridge the prosperity development gap between southern and northern Broadway (basically between the Ace Hotel and Grand Central Market).
What started eight years ago in Washington, DC in 2007 by three very smart Georgetown students, the popular east coast salad eatery Sweetgreen has grown to 30 locations in the country (and counting) opening their first LA location in West Hollywood earlier this year with another in Santa Monica coming soon. The LA opening spree doesn’t end there. Now the health-conscious green chain is headed to the heart of LA — Downtown LA, of course — with a new location appropriately nearby the highly anticipated upcoming Whole Foods.