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.
Category Archives: mixed-use development
By now, most of you have probably heard that America’s new favorite movie chain, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, is coming to Downtown LA opening within The Bloc (formerly known as Macy’s Plaza), which is going through an exciting $180 million makeover. For me, I am particularly excited about Alamo finally making its way here because of their “ironclad” policy for no talking and texting during a movie. THANK YOU ALAMO! Where have you been all my life? One of my biggest pet peeves ever is going to the movies and having to deal with rude-inconsiderate people who text and sometimes even check/update their Facebook or Twitter while a movie is in progress. We’ve all sat near someone during a movie who just can’t seem to shut up, ruining the entire movie-going experience for all of us. I’ve even had the pleasure of sitting next to a guy who picked up his phone and actually had a full-on conversation (for about a whole minute) while the movie was playing. As a result, I usually end up with a ton of anxiety before a movie begins thinking: “Gee, I wonder how many people will be texting on their phone this time.”
Less than two weeks ago, DTLA Rising broke the very exciting news that AEG had signed a lease taking over the entire Desmond Building in Downtown LA’s rapidly growing South Park district. The beautiful historic structure built in 1916 sat empty and dilapidated, sadly, for many decades even though it sits directly across the street from multiple high-end residential buildings including the South Group condos (Elleven, Luma, Evo) and the Met Lofts. But now the Desmond will be getting the much needed TLC it deserves when AEG — owner of nearby Staples Center and LA Live — relocates their ticketing and live entertainment divisions into the Desmond come next year.
It’s been three months since construction first began on the parking structure that will be attached to the new and exciting 888 S Hope, a brand new 33-story residential tower about to break ground later this year in burgeoning South Park. Being developed by LA-based CIM Group, new renderings from RTKL — the architect firm designing the project — show lots of retail space on the ground floor of both the parking structure and the tower itself. As you can see in the renderings (above and below), ample retail space will face Hope Street and wrap around the tower along 9th Street bordering the upcoming boutique Empire Hotel.
We already know the Arts District is hot on the development radar in Downtown LA. Over in NoArDi (aka North Arts District), several very large projects in the making are transforming the once desolate industrial warehouse district into an active and vibrant residential and artistic community. The massive One Santa Fe project with 438 apartments and a 99-seat community theater along with the MegaToys Lofts with 320 apartments — both under construction — will be adding thousands of new residents in the coming years. And the exciting recent announcement of Hauser Wirth & Schimmel converting an old flour mill on 3rd Street into a 100,000 square foot art center complex — befitting of the district’s namesake — is slated to open in 2016. But NoArDi shouldn’t have all the fun. Now SoArDi (aka South Arts District) will be the next to receive a large mixed-use project near 7th/Alameda just a stone’s throw from fashion juggernaut Alameda Square (headquarters to American Apparel, Splendid/Ella Moss, and Groceries Apparel).
This totally made my day! Great news via Building Los Angeles, a beautiful historic gem in the heart of Downtown LA in what is now known as the Jewelry District is slated for adaptive-reuse conversion. Designed by architect Claud Beelman, the art deco building will be converted to 165 residential units according to plans submitted to the city. In addition, there are plans for two restaurants and a bar lounge. Located at the SW corner of 7th/Hill — arguably one of the most significant intersections for the future of downtown retail growth along the main east-west pedestrian axis of 7th Street — the 13-story historic edifice was once the flagship store for the LA-based Foreman & Clark department store established in 1909, which actually opened its first store at 3rd/Main.
Brand new to the market! Located at 735 S Broadway near the 8th Street intersection, The Vail adds six new spacious 1,800 square foot lofts for rent to Broadway with 3,800 square feet of ground floor retail. Built in 1908 as the Rowley Building, the historic conversion project is from the same developers who brought us The Mandel in Downtown LA. According to the developer, “The Vail” was a small department store that once occupied the building in the early 1900s.
- Six brand new lofts for rent (2 per floor)
- 1,800 square foot lofts
- One bedroom units on 2nd/3rd floors
- Two bedroom units on penthouse level
- Brand new stainless steel kitchens
- Washer and dryer included
- 15+ foot high ceilings
- Exposed original brick walls
- Interior courtyard with patio balconies
- Pet friendly
- Prices start at $2,450
For more info and/or to schedule a viewing, please email Brigham Yen.
(More pictures of The Vail below)
A large 440-unit residential mixed-use project called Avant is now nearing completion on the southern edge of South Park in Downtown LA just south of Pico and across from the LA Convention Center. The three phase project — developed by Century West Partners and designed by local Downtown LA architect firm GMP — is comprised of three separate 7-story buildings with studios, 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. Situated between Figueroa and Flower Streets, the first phase facing Flower with 76 rental apartments (including 4 live/work units) is now accepting move-ins with already 30 units leased out and 10 units scheduled to be occupied by the end of May. The second phase facing Figueroa with 171 units is slated to open next month in June with an exciting designer showcase event spanning three days (June 24 thru 26) that will allow prospective residents to check out some really decked out designer model units. With 193 units, the third and largest phase — also along Figueroa and just south of the second phase portion separated by a surface parking lot — is actively under construction with the wood framing still exposed and scheduled to be completed by early 2015. Building Los Angeles reports that another mixed-use project is already in the initial planning stages to fill in the surface lot between the two Avant buildings.
It’s amazing and so very exciting to see the massive Michael Maltzan-designed One Santa Fe project taking shape on the eastern edge of Downtown LA in the burgeoning Arts District, which is rapidly becoming one of the hottest neighborhoods in all of Los Angeles with new trendy shops like Warby Parker and Blacktop Coffee as well as EightyTwo barcade opening recently down the street. One Santa Fe — sandwiched between SCI-ARC and the Metro rail yard — will be a huge game changer for the Arts District adding an additional 438 apartment units for rent (potentially increasing the downtown population by another 650 residents) and adding lots of new businesses and community amenities (like a 99-seat theater) that will help inject more pedestrian activity into the immediate area, including an exciting new grocery store called GROW that’s planning to open later this year within the One Santa Fe courtyard.
Wow Downtown LA is just buzzing with grocery store news lately huh? Yesterday, there was some exciting rumors that we posted that Trader Joe’s may be opening a store at The Bloc in the Financial District, and now some more exciting grocery news to share that a local LA market called GROW in Manhattan Beach is planning to open later this year at the massive Michael Maltzan-designed One Santa Fe mixed-use project in the rapidly developing Arts District.
Rumors are once again sizzling up, even saying it’s “confirmed,” that Trader Joe’s is closer to opening a grocery store in Downtown LA. You remember earlier this year when the exciting rumors had surfaced that the holy-grail-of-all-markets-for-Downtown LA, Trader Joe’s, was sniffing out potential sites? This would obviously be after their “three year ban” on downtown finally comes to an end later this year. LA Weekly even ran an update to the rumor reporting that a rep from Trader Joe’s said “Downtown Los Angeles is not in our two-year plan.” This all makes sense now (explained below) given that the latest rumor says Trader Joe’s may have found a new home at The Bloc — the highly anticipated and super exciting $160+ million makeover of Macy’s Plaza located in the heart of the Financial District opening in late 2015/early 2016.
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.”
New gelato cafe, Gelateria Uli, opened this Monday inside the Broadway-Spring Arcade, one of Downtown LA’s most unique and beautiful historic buildings. The new dessert shop, owned by downtown resident Uli Nasibova, joins both Crepes Sans Frontieres (opened in 2013) and Famima (opened in 2012) as the arcade’s new businesses that are helping to transform this historic pedestrian corridor into an exciting and thriving center once again.
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.
South Park in Downtown LA just keeps getting hotter and hotter! Recently announced are a slew of new proposed shiny high-rises set to break ground in the next year or so that will give our growing skyline a major shot in the arm — how exciting! Now let’s add another tower to the mix, this time at the northeast corner of 9th and Hope also in South Park (directly adjacent to the u/c boutique “Empire Hotel“). The new 33-story residential tower — to be called “888 South Hope” — will be developed by CIM Group, which just recently purchased Two Cal Plaza on Bunker Hill and also developed the Market-Gas Company Lofts across the street.