Ralphs Fresh Fare in Downtown LA is more than just a grocery store. Sure it’s one of the highest grossing Ralphs in their entire chain, but it’s also considered a major milestone in the history of Downtown LA’s urban revitalization. Before the supermarket opened in July 2007 at the corner of 9th/Flower in South Park, the small but growing population of new downtown residents really didn’t have anywhere to shop for groceries. It goes without saying that it was kind of a huge deal when Ralphs opened because it meant you could actually buy groceries without leaving downtown. That was critical for supporting the downtown population growth that allowed for more businesses to open. Now seven years later, Downtown LA is a much different place. You could say we’re finally coming to a tipping point of no return. When it comes to grocery stores, the competition is about to get heated soon. Not only did Smart & Final Extra open down the street from Ralphs last year, but next year a large 42,000 square foot Whole Foods will open just a few blocks away at 8th/Grand, and potentially a new Trader Joe’s will open at The Bloc also just up the street at 8th/Hope. As a result, Ralphs Fresh Fare is starting on an exciting $2.5 million remodeling project that will keep the grocery store attractive and competitive within downtown.
Category Archives: retail
[Update 8/15/14: Per a job listing on glassdoor.com, we have learned that the new Gap store on Broadway will be the Gap Factory Store. There are currently a couple in the LA area in Downtown Burbank and the Citadel Outlets in Commerce.]
The rumors were right! DTLA Rising has learned that giant clothing retailer, Gap, has signed a lease at 737 S Broadway near the intersection of 8th/Broadway, not far from the new Urban Outfitters and close to all the other exciting new developments coalescing around the new Ace Hotel near 9th/Broadway. Gap will take up 8,500 square feet of ground floor retail space facing Broadway as part of a new redevelopment project for the historic structure built in 1913, which is also actively in the process of converting the upper floors to creative office space.
Announced back in Nov 2013, a brand new CVS drug store opened yesterday (on Sunday) on the southwest corner of 7th and Spring in the Historic Core. Located on the ground floor of the historic 1912 Van Nuys building—containing 299 senior housing units above—the new 13,800 square foot CVS store already has a dramatic new effect on the immediate corner. It’s kind of weird and wonderful at the same time to see a brand new store open with lots of people going in and out of a space that was once empty and lifeless for so long. A large red CVS sign sits above the main front entrance facing 7th Street directly across from the Bartlett lofts. Although this is technically CVS’s second location downtown (another small, long-forgotten CVS store is located at the very sad LA Mall in the Civic Center), it really feels like the first one given that hardly anyone has seen or heard of the other one before.
Can you believe it’s only been less than two years since City Target first opened in Downtown LA back in late 2012? Before that, the idea of having any major retailer downtown was still considered a pipe dream. Sure it was “just another” Target, but to downtown residents, it meant a lot more to us. It meant we could finally buy an iPad or a vacuum cleaner without having to leave downtown for simple basic stuff. And who could’ve imagined that a year later, retailers that would usually only open on the Westside (like on Robertson, Melrose, or Beverly) were actually opening stores downtown (i.e., Acne Studios, Aesop, OAK NYC, etc.) creating the beginnings of a bona fide new shopping district. Thank goodness the retail momentum continues to grow stronger. In fact, two of the most recent exciting additions to Downtown LA—H&M and Zara, both the largest flagship stores in SoCal, which opened 3 months and 2 months ago respectively—are already doing better than anyone could’ve expected.
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.
Last November, we found out that a new CVS Pharmacy drug store had signed a lease to take over the entire corner of the historic Van Nuys building at 7th and Spring in the heart of the Historic Core. This can be seen as a good and bad thing for those who live in downtown. Good because it’s always nice to have more options and variety to get your daily residential needs fulfilled. After all, CVS along with other drug store chains like Walgreens and Rite Aid are meant to be neighborhood serving retailers that are convenient and ubiquitous in established urban communities. However, this particular CVS can also be viewed as a bad thing because of its close proximity to Skid Row where homeless individuals are known to frequent these drug stores to purchase prescription drugs and alcohol. In the case of Rite Aid at 5th/Broadway, loitering in front of the store is a big issue along with drug dealers and other unpleasant “it’s-your-fault-for-moving-to-an-urban-downtown” experiences like getting beat up by random thugs!
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.
Located at Wilshire/Hope in the heart of the Financial District is the 12-story 626 Wilshire office building also known as the Golden Boy building because it was purchased in 2004 by famed boxer Oscar de la Hoya. Now appropriately enough, a new high-end boutique gym called City Athletix will be taking over the entire ground floor retail space of the building totaling 12,000 square feet. Replacing what used to be a credit union branch, a Sprint cell phone store, and a wine and spirit shop, City Athletix will be offering members a high-end fitness experience — towel service will be included — with more approachable prices.
It started off with Acne Studios in December of last year. The upscale Swedish fashion line opened their global flagship store at the corner of 9th and Broadway on the ground floor of the beautiful turquoise art deco Eastern Columbia building. Then just last month in early May, another upscale retailer called Austere opened a block away at the corner of 9th and Hill on the ground floor of a historic parking structure in a 5,000 square foot space once an old auto showroom. Austere is as much a showroom as it is retail, according to its owner Fredrik Carlstrom. The store features sleek Scandinavian designs ranging from furniture to clothes and even a sparkling white Volvo SUV parked in the middle of the cavernous raw space with exposed concrete ceilings. Now, the much-welcomed Swedish invasion into Downtown LA continues with a soon-to-open barbershop called Roy & Son.
So it was “supposed to” open yesterday on June 4th, but there was a small tiny delay because of one little city inspection that still needed to be passed before Zara could finally open. The inspection happened literally at midnight (last night) and obviously went smoothly because Zara opened their doors today at 10 am. All the window coverings were removed, revealing a beautifully built out store that becomes a solid anchor at the FIGat7th shopping center (along with H&M and City Target). Nevertheless, one more day of not opening felt like an entire week for many of us who have been eager to see LA’s newest and largest Zara flagship store open in Downtown LA, signaling the rising change happening to our once-desolate and abandoned urban core.
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)
Zara fans rejoice! After waiting (impatiently!) for a year since Zara announced it was coming to Downtown LA, we are finally just days away from the grand opening of LA’s new flagship Zara store located at FIGat7th in the Financial District. Construction boards were removed yesterday revealing Zara’s long storefront facade that stretches from Figueroa all the way into the interior portion of the outdoor shopping center by the flagship H&M store. Seven large windows lining the storefront — all with white window coverings announcing a June 4 grand opening — will entice shoppers in with future beautiful window displays that Zara is known for. Although the store won’t open for about another week, it’s exciting to see the new storefront unveiled giving us a taste of what’s to come. This will not only be the Spanish retailer’s largest Los Angeles store at 27,000 square feet, it will also be considered a “concept store” akin to the Manhattan flagship in Midtown, which will carry unique items for men, women, and children making it the strongest collection in the region.
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.
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.
Warby Parker Opens Inside Alchemy Works in Downtown LA Arts District; Blacktop Coffee Opens Next Door
The Arts District just got even hipper. Two new businesses have set up shop in the last several weeks that continue to inject new life into the burgeoning community on the eastern edge of Downtown LA: Blacktop Coffee and Warby Parker (the affordable trendy eyewear collection from New York). Both new concepts have opened with a synergistic collaboration with Alchemy Works, a highly curated retail boutique that recently opened last November stocked with an eclectic mix of merchandise that GQ calls “a living Tumblr.”