Category Archives: pedestrian oriented

Downtown LA Parking Lot Next to Chapman Lofts at 8th/Spring Looking for High-Rise Developer

A large parking lot adjacent to the Chapman Lofts at 8th/Spring is being marketed to developers for high-rise construction (Photo: Chris Dikeakos Architects)

A large parking lot adjacent to the Chapman Lofts at 8th/Spring is being marketed to developers for high-rise construction (Photo: Chris Dikeakos Architects)

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.”

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Downtown LA’s Broadway-Spring Arcade Continues to Transform with New Opening of Gelateria Uli

Gelateria Uli is a new dessert shop that has opened in the historic Broadway-Spring Arcade built in 1924 (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

Gelateria Uli is a new dessert shop that has opened in the historic Broadway-Spring Arcade built in 1924 (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

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.

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Rumor Mill: Gap, Banana Republic, other Big Retailers Scouting Downtown LA

Gap, Banana Republic, and other large retailers are now rumored to be searching for space in Downtown LA along either Broadway or 7th Street

Gap, Banana Republic, and other large retailers are now rumored to be searching for space in Downtown LA along either Broadway or 7th Street

Since Urban Outfitters and Acne Studios opened on Broadway in late December of last year, a whirlwind of new retailers have setup shop almost overnight nearby 9th and Broadway and the new Ace Hotel. OAK NYC, Tanner Goods, Aesop, and A.P.C. to name a few. But all up and down Broadway is fair game for other retailers including the apparent signing of Burlington Coat Factory at 7th/Broadway. Now, rumors are picking up that other large well-known brands – which once eschewed Downtown LA like the plague — have not only taken notice of all this new retail activity, but are actively looking for suitable spaces in Downtown LA as well. Where? Specifically along retail-conducive streets like Broadway and 7th Street where large redevelopment projects like The Bloc and Wilshire Grand Tower continue to generate buzz. Names like Gap, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Forever 21, and Anthropologie have all come up as brands searching or eyeing Downtown LA. No exact locations are yet confirmed for any of these brands, but the fact is, eventually they will find a home here. Only a matter of time. Also, within the next month or so, both Zara and H&M will be opening their exciting new LA flagship stores at FIGat7th that will further add fuel to the growing retail fire in Downtown LA.

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New “LA Plaza” Mixed-User with Exciting Paseo Coming to El Pueblo in Downtown LA

A new mixed-use project being spearheaded by the LA Plaza foundation in El Pueblo is being planned for two parking lots just west of Olvera Street with a pedestrian paseo as the highlight of the project (Photo: LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes)

(Click to enlarge) A new mixed-use project being spearheaded by the LA Plaza foundation in El Pueblo is being planned for two parking lots just west of Olvera Street with a pedestrian paseo as the highlight of the project (Photo: LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes)

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.

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Le Pain Quotidien with Historic Courtyard Now Open at PacMutual in Downtown LA

A new Le Pain Quotidien is now open at the PacMutual along with the newly revealed and renovated adjacent historic courtyard to the right

A new Le Pain Quotidien is now open at the PacMutual along with the newly revealed and renovated adjacent historic courtyard to the right

It’s been almost a whole year (last May 2013) since we found out that Le Pain Quotidien (aka LPQ) was coming to the PacMutual in Downtown LA. After a little delay — it was supposed to open in February this year — LPQ finally opened last Saturday about a week ago and has been serving up breakfast and lunch with a menu of tartines, quiches, soups and salads along with coffee and tea paired with an array of fresh yummy pastries.

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888 South Hope: CIM Group’s New 33-Story Project Preparing for Ground Breaking in Downtown LA

A new 33-story tower by CIM Group is set to rise at the corner of 9th/Hope in South Park called "888 South Hope"

A new 33-story tower by CIM Group is set to rise at the corner of 9th/Hope in South Park called “888 South Hope”

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.

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Stephen Kane Running for DLANC: “Safer Streets, Redoing Pershing Square, More Transit” in Downtown LA

Native Angeleno Stephen Kane is hoping to contribute his love and passion for Downtown LA by running for Downtown LA Neighborhood Council (Photo: Stephen Kane)

Native Angeleno Stephen Kane is hoping to contribute his love and passion for Downtown LA by running for Downtown LA Neighborhood Council (Photo: Stephen Kane)

By Stephen Kane

It’s no longer a secret: DTLA is on the verge of becoming a great urban core once again. Promise and opportunity abound in this rapidly growing community, but so do the challenges that we must address in order to keep downtown on the right path and direction. As we continue to grow and evolve, we will increasingly wrestle with who we are and what we aspire to be.

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EightyTwo (82) Arcade Bar Brings Classic Gaming to the Arts District in Downtown LA

EightyTwo is a new arcade bar that grand opened this week in the Arts District in Downtown LA

EightyTwo is a new arcade bar that grand opened this week in the Arts District in Downtown LA

Did you grow up in the age of classic gaming (like me) in the 80s and 90s when going to the arcade was an absolute integral part of life? Remember the good ol’ days of lining up quarters on the arcade console waiting eagerly for your turn to challenge the “unbeatable” incumbent player on games like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat? For me, it was all about Chun Li: “Yatta!” Walking into EightyTwo, now open in the Arts District in Downtown LA, is like taking a trip back in time when arcade game consoles were ubiquitous (7-Elevens used to be the hang out spot after school right?).

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Applause: South Park Parking Structure Adding 11,000+ SF New Retail Space in Downtown LA

(Click to enlarge) Rendering of new eateries (with outdoor patio dining) along Hope Street after the ground level parking is converted to retail space (Photo: PSP Investment Group)

(Click to enlarge) Rendering of new eateries (with outdoor patio dining) along Hope Street after the ground level parking is converted to retail space (Photo: PSP Investment Group)

Some very exciting news coming out of South Park that will help enliven the streets just a little bit more. Just two blocks from the Staples Center, an existing parking structure at 11th and Hope that currently houses two restaurants on the ground floor — Il Mare and Arashi Sushi — will be expanding its commercial retail space for lease by another 11,200 square feet. The 5-story parking structure with 598 spaces will be converting the ground level parking area along Hope Street into retail and restaurant space. Essentially, the entire perimeter of the parking structure will be wrapped with commercial spaces with a focus on adding new eateries. You lose a little bit of parking to benefit the growing community with neighborhood serving businesses that make living in Downtown LA enjoyable and convenient. I call that a win-win.

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Downtown LA Chinatown’s New Jia Apartments: Amenity Rich and Super Pet Friendly

Chinatown's first market rate housing development, Jia Apartments, is now open adjacent to the Chinatown gateway at Broadway and Cesar Chavez

Chinatown’s first market rate housing development, Jia Apartments, is now open adjacent to the Chinatown gateway at Broadway and Cesar Chavez

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.

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Watch Downtown LA’s New 32-Story Onni Tower Rise Halfway Up in 21 Seconds

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.

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New Wayfinding Signs, More Upgrades Coming Soon to Union Station in Downtown LA

The busiest rail station west of the Mississippi, Union Station in Downtown LA, is getting some exciting upgrades by the end of spring 2014 including new wayfinding and interactive electronic signs

The busiest rail station west of the Mississippi, Union Station in Downtown LA, is getting some exciting upgrades by the end of spring 2014 including new wayfinding and interactive electronic signs

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.

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New Sexy Mixed-Use Joe’s Parking Structure Coming to 8th/Francisco in Downtown LA

A new parking structure designed by Downtown LA-based architect firm LeanArch has broken ground across the street from the Metropolis site in South Park, Downtown LA (Photo: LeanArch)

A new parking structure designed by Downtown LA-based architect firm LeanArch has broken ground at 8th/Francisco across the street from the Metropolis site in South Park, Downtown LA (Photo: LeanArch)

Downtown LA is getting a new, dare I say, sexy parking structure in north South Park at 8th and Francisco. I usually wouldn’t consider a new parking structure newsworthy, but this project is being designed with a lot more thought and concern for aesthetics, so I thought it should be highlighted as an example for other parking structures to follow. Designed by Downtown LA-based architect firm, LeanArch, the parking structure is being developed by landowner and giant parking operator Joe’s Auto Parks as a mixed-use project consisting of not only parking but with office and retail components as well according to a development executive I spoke to at the company.

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ULI FutureBuild Event Will Unveil Radical Reinventions of Downtown LA and Beyond


Watch a short video about ULI FutureBuild hosted in Downtown LA!

Mayor Eric Garcetti is among the leaders who will preview dramatic changes in urban living at FutureBuild 2014. On January 28 ULI Los Angeles presents this high-level, interactive event. Mayor Garcetti will give the keynote speech – a preview of a sustainably designed a future Los Angeles. (Could it be something like the transit-oriented Downtown depicted in Spike Jonze’s movie “Her?”) Other Downtown-focused topics will include: new bikeways; a preview of the new cubicle-free office represented by CBRE’s redesigned headquarters; parklets such as those popping up on Spring Street; expanded access to a restored L.A. River, and more.

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In-N-Out Burger: “We’re Not Coming to Downtown LA without a (Suburban) Drive-Thru Location”

In-N-Out Burger is stubborn to maintain its suburban model of drive-thru restaurants, refusing to open an "urban location" in Downtown LA (Photo: In-N-Out Burger)

In-N-Out Burger is stubborn to maintain its suburban model of drive-thru restaurants, refusing to open an “urban location” in Downtown LA (Photo: In-N-Out Burger)

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.

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