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.
Category Archives: retail
Could it be? Could it be? No more schlepping to Silver Lake or Pasadena for Trader Joe’s? It could be!
Remember back in 2011 when Trader Joe’s snubbed Downtown LA by specifically stating that “downtown wasn’t in their 3-year plan?” Many downtown residents were livid that Trader Joe’s stubbornly refused to open here even though a DCBID demographic survey made it quite clear that Trader Joe’s was (and still is) the #1 most desired market chain. Well, the “three year ban” is coming to an end soon and Downtown LA is now a completely different animal than even just three years ago. Since 2011, the list of new downtown developments and businesses that have opened, or are planning to open (including the new Whole Foods under construction at 8th/Grand), has transformed Downtown LA from the victim of skepticism to the center of attention (even making the NY Times Top Global Places to Visit in 2014). So has Trader Joe’s finally taken notice of all this positive attention? The short answer is: Yes.
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.
Ninth and Broadway just got even more exciting this weekend with the opening of Tanner Goods this past Sunday afternoon. The new Tanner Goods store in Downtown LA is only the second one outside of Portland, Oregon. The boutique is about 1,000 square feet large with soaring high ceilings giving the store a beautiful and spacious industrial ambiance. For those unfamiliar with the brand, Tanner Goods is a maker of leather goods including bags, wallets, gloves, and belts. However, you’ll find more than just accessories as a full line of clothing attire and shoes are stocked as well from various brands including Norse Projects from Denmark, Tellason denim and Tanner Goods’ own clothing line called The Woodlands.
A brand new shiny Walgreens just opened this past Friday at the crime ridden intersection of 5th and Broadway — a part of Downtown LA’s Historic Core that has resisted change from its gang and drug infested past even as the rest of downtown continues to revitalize. The grand opening on Jan 31 at 10 am was an event marked with DJ music, balloons, free food samples, and lots of smiles and cheer. The celebratory mood inside stood in stark contrast to the seedy elements that still lurked outside as the daily east-west migratory pattern from Skid Row to Pershing Square continued as usual uninterrupted. However, given Walgreens’ different operating strategy from “the problem” Rite Aid across the street, the new Chicago-based drug store is hopefully a sign of more positive changes to come for one of Downtown LA’s worst intersections.
The historic Olympic Theatre located near the NW corner of 8th and Broadway is now available for lease as a unique flagship retail space opportunity along the exciting Broadway retail corridor. Built in 1927, the 600-seat theater was originally called Bard’s Eighth Street Theatre but was renamed Olympic Theatre in 1932 to commemorate the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Today, the space is once again ready to shine as Downtown LA continues to attract national and international retailers at an unprecedented rate. This retail space is ideal for a retailer with a unique identity and brand.
Full details below ↓
This just in: Burlington Coat Factory (referred to as simply “Burlington” on their website) has leased the underground space now occupied by Big Lots located at 7th/Broadway. [Update 2/13/2014: Burlington has apparently leased the ground floor retail space as well above Big Lots totaling approximately 40,000 square feet.] The space is located under the Saint Vincent Jewelry Center, which was once the original Bullock’s flagship department store built in 1906. Apparently, Burlington will also take a smaller portion of the space above Big Lots on the street level for a total of 18,000 square feet. It is still unclear when Big Lots would vacate and when Burlington plans to open.
Last year in December, we first released some exciting rumors that two more amazing fashion brands — OAK NYC and French fashion line A.P.C. — were sniffing around 9th and Broadway, which has seriously become the epicenter of Broadway’s amazing urban renaissance. Well, I’m so excited to report that both brands are confirmed and will be joining the growing list of amazing brands coalescing around this intersection (see list below).
Finally! Can you believe it’s been almost three years since we reported that Walgreens was coming to 5th and Broadway in Downtown LA? This will be the second Walgreens to open downtown (the other one is at 7th/Hope in the Financial District). Signs posted on the windows went up this week announcing for the community to join the grand opening on Jan 31, 2014 at 10 am. Workers were seen this past Wednesday adding the finishing touches with fresh paint to Walgreens’ ornate facade, such as the beautiful wrought iron detailing above the windows as part of the historic 1926 Chester Williams Building — now also home to 88 luxury apartment units.
The $40 million makeover of FIGat7th is now almost fully leased out to a slew of exciting new retailers. MAC Cosmetics has just signed a lease to join the FIGat7th roster, which includes future LA flagship stores Zara and H&M. The international cosmetics brand will open a 1,500 square foot store sandwiched in between two other new retailers, L’Occitane and Sunglass Hut, coming to the rejuvenated shopping center all by this spring. MAC will open in March on the City Target level, which is now fully leased out to brands like Victoria’s Secret, PINK, Bath & Body Works, and Sprinkles Cupcakes.
Stepping inside the Rialto Theatre last night was such an amazing experience. The historic theater built in 1917, once glorious and proud in its heyday, became the sad victim of urban decay due to LA’s post-war suburbanization. The inside suffered decades of rot, was gutted, and falling apart in disrepair. And then Urban Outfitters came to the rescue — summoned by the call of urban revitalization — and completely rehabbed the entire place from head to toe, including the now-gleaming historic marquee lit up in bright and colorful neon lighting. The grand opening of Urban Outfitters comes only a day after Swedish clothing retailer Acne Studios’ own amazing grand opening yesterday at 9th/Broadway just down the block.
Upscale Swedish clothing retailer Acne Studios is now officially open at 9th and Broadway on the ground floor of the beautiful art deco Eastern Columbia building. The new downtown location becomes the brand’s global flagship store at a whopping 5,000 square feet stocked with the hippest of fashion for both men and women and the first location to include an in-store Swedish Il Caffe. A private friends and family grand opening was held last night inside the new store with hundreds in attendance. I haven’t experienced this much positive energy on Broadway since the grand opening of Umamicatessen back in March 2012. The excitement within the air was palpable as live music played, champagne was poured, and well-groomed male servers wearing pink outfits (to match the store’s pink terrazzo floor) came around with sweet confections shaped like a mushroom referencing the store’s “Giant triple mushroom” art installation by Belgian artist Carsten Höller.
There’s always that one pioneer that starts it all. Almost a decade and half ago, Pete’s Cafe was the lone eatery in the Old Bank District before the area became Josef Centeno’s culinary empire. Then in 2008 Bottega Louie set the precedent (and the bar high) for 7th Street, which became Downtown LA’s Restaurant Row. When it comes to retail, that’s exactly what Daniel Patrick is doing for the southern portion of Broadway (south of Olympic Blvd) where the area — the cusp of South Park and the Fashion District — is still considered the fringe of downtown revitalization, but not for long.
A new independent clothing boutique called Pale Violet is now open at the northeast corner of 7th and Spring in the Historic Core contributing to a growing indie shopping district, what I sometimes think of as “the new Melrose of Los Angeles.” What started out as an online store, Pale Violet opened its first brick and mortar about two weeks ago carrying chic and fashionable clothing lines for women. Some highlighted brands include London’s Three Floor, Australia’s Cameo, New York’s Modern Vice, and Los Angeles’ Naven.
The rumor from last month is now confirmed. The “all natural skincare products line” L’Occitane en Provence (pronounced LOX-EE-TAN) has signed a lease at FIGat7th joining a roster of other solid mainstream retailers — especially the massive Zara and H&M flagship stores — that are really helping to put Downtown LA back on the shopping map in the hyper-competitive Los Angeles market.