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!
Category Archives: retail
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 $2,599
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.”
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.
Yesterday was yet another exciting milestone when it comes to retail development in Downtown LA where the largest H&M store in Southern California grand opened at FIGat7th in the Financial District. Hundreds of eager shoppers waited in line outside the store long before doors opened at noon with the line wrapping all the way out to Figueroa. The first 300 customers would receive a $100 gift card. Once the clock struck noon, cheers erupted and shoppers began filing into the new sprawling single-level 32,000 square foot store filled with attire for men, women, and children. As hundreds of shoppers left with their purchases toting H&M shopping bags, the writing on the wall was clear: Downtown LA is truly back and expect more big retailers to follow in the near future.
Great news if you want to shop late! H&M will be open Mon thru Fri from 10 am to 10 pm, Sat from 10 am to 9 pm, and Sun from 11 am to 8 pm.
More pics from grand opening below!
A new neighborhood bakery from Studio City called Big Sugar Bakeshop is coming to the Financial District in Downtown LA later this summer. Opening on the Wilshire Blvd side of the 322-unit Pegasus Apartments — one of my favorite mid-century modern buildings in LA designed by renowned architect Welton Becket — Big Sugar will open in a cute little space next to Caffe Primo coming in at just under 600 square feet.
Just this past weekend, a beautiful new Aesop (apothecary) signature store opened at 9th/Broadway fueling the retail momentum along the historic thoroughfare. But it doesn’t stop there! The exciting flood of new retailers opening up in Downtown LA continues over at FIGat7th in the Financial District. Earlier today on Monday, H&M took down their construction boards at the open-air shopping center unveiling the brand new store to the public. Announced only half a year ago, this will be H&M’s largest flagship store in Southern California coming in at a whopping 32,000 square feet. Talk about making a huge statement coming into the DTLA market. The new store will carry H&M’s entire clothing collection including: men’s, women’s, lingerie and maternity, accessories, sports, and children’s apparel. Shoppers can rejoice as the grand opening is only a few days away set to open this Thursday at May 1, 2014 at noon.