One of the Westside’s favorite salad bar eateries is making its way eastward to Downtown LA. Mrs. Winston’s Green Grocery (popular with celebs!) with two locations in Santa Monica and one in Century City is opening its fourth store here on Figueroa, replacing the former ground floor Greenland Metropolis sales office at 888 S Figueroa.
After some initial groundbreaking work that began about a year ago that created a large sunken pit to prepare for the project’s foundation and underground parking, the massive Oceanwide Plaza project (formerly known as Fig Central) has remained seemingly dormant without any other construction activity on this sprawling 4.6 acre site located directly across the Staples Center. Many have wondered what the heck is going on with Chinese developer Oceanwide’s $1 billion project, which is another huge game changing development for red hot South Park.
One of the hottest districts in Downtown LA just got another little “urban boost” today. Within all the frenetic construction activity happening throughout South Park, the immediate neighborhood surrounding 11th and Hope has organically developed to become the center of the growing residential community, and today marked another great milestone with the opening of a brand new parklet installed by the South Park BID.
One of the largest mixed-use projects under construction on the West Coast — the $1 billion Metropolis project anchoring the western edge of Downtown LA in South Park — reached a major milestone on Tuesday, December 8. Chinese developer Greenland USA topped off their first tower with a ceremony marking another big step forward as the massive 6.3 acre site begins to truly take shape with all four towers now rising simultaneously. The final steel beam (that was signed by a whopping group of 500 construction workers, Greenland execs, Councilman Jose Huizar, and others that have worked on the project) was laid across the roof of the 38-story residential tower.
Less than a month after the highly anticipated Whole Foods Market opened at 8th and Grand, another new development has started construction across the street on a surface parking lot keeping the momentum going here on the northern edge of South Park. Sandwiched between Carmel’s new residential tower (that’s also under construction) and the 49-unit South Park Lofts, a new parking structure broke ground in mid November that will include a new CVS drugstore on the ground floor adding another practical business to a growing residential neighborhood in South Park.
It’s impossible to believe but after years and years of beyond-frustrating (and mysterious) extended delays that have lasted for more than a decade, the long-vacant Trinity Auditorium and Hotel Clark — two historic gems owned by NY-based Chetrit Group — are finally about to open early next year as two new boutique hotels under the Fën Hotels brand from South America. This time it looks like it’s for real, for real. Argentina-based Fën Hotels (with a NYC headquarters here in the USA) will open both of their hotel brands here in Downtown LA: the Dazzler and Esplendor. With only a handful of locations in the US (one in Brooklyn and two in Florida), Downtown LA will debut as Fën Hotels’ first locations on the West Coast.
Olympic Blvd in South Park is in desperate need of more businesses. For a downtown in the nation’s second largest city, we sure don’t have much to show for it on one of our most significant commercial stretches where too many blocks still remain devoid of stores and restaurants. It’s sad when a Shell gas station and a Subway sandwich are considered “go-to spots” because there’s pretty much nothing else until you get to LA Live. As a result, residents of South Park really have few options when it comes to food and shopping. Well, things are hopefully about to change for the better as a prominent restaurant/bar from San Francisco has just signed a massive deal at the southeast corner of Olympic and Olive that could help turn the tide the way Bottega Louie helped transform 7th Street.
Just last week, DTLA Rising took you on an inside tour of the brand new Level tower — the very posh 303-unit corporate housing project at 9th and Olive with the amazing Vegas-style pool and amenity deck that just opened this past June. Not only do we have another gleaming new 33-story high-rise added to our growing skyline, but some very exciting new businesses are planning to open on the ground floor as well that will help activate this desolate intersection in South Park with pedestrian foot traffic. I am very excited to learn that SoulCycle and Cognoscenti Coffee will be opening here next year.
It’s so gratifying to see Onni’s South Park tower — named Level Furnished Living — finally completed after more than 2.5 years of construction. We’ve watched this thing go from an ugly surface parking lot at the corner of 9th and Olive to a gleaming new 33-story high-rise that now adds another nice dent to our growing skyline. Even more important, it now adds a significant injection of life to a still-desolate section of South Park that desperately yearns for more urban street life activity, which will be coming in the form of new restaurants and stores on Level’s ground floor.
Almost three years ago, we ran a story that revealed that W Hotel was looking to open a location in Downtown LA, and for the last three years I found myself wondering: “When is W finally going to come downtown?” For someone who is a huge fan of Starwood’s hippest hotel flag, I’m beyond elated for today’s good news that W has been chosen by Shenzhen Hazens to become the new “crown jewel” to anchor their new massive South Park development slated to rise across from LA Live and Staples Center.
It’s always good to see another dead zone parking lot replaced by a high quality development in Downtown LA helping to activate our growing urban center. Over at 9th and Hill on the southern edge of the Historic Core, a new exciting mixed-use tower is slated to rise on a parking lot on the northeast corner of the intersection adjacent to the highly anticipated Broadway Trade Center redevelopment project.
Coffee lovers rejoice! The wait is finally over. San Francisco’s uber popular Philz Coffee soft opened earlier today in Downtown LA at 8th and Hope with a long snaking line that wrapped all the way around the corner and down the block along Hope Street. Excited downtown residents and office workers packed the coffee shop eager to try the Bay Area chain’s highly reputable coffee and pastries known for their iced mint mojito topped with actual mint leaves.
One of the main public universities in Los Angeles — Cal State LA with 24,000 students located about 4 miles east of Downtown LA — will be opening a new downtown campus in January 2016 according to the university’s Director of Communications Robert Lopez. First reported on the LABJ, the new campus will open at 801 S Grand Ave, a modern 22-story office tower (with half of it converted to residential back in 2006) surrounded by amazing development activity including the 700-unit luxury apartment project Eighth & Grand anchored by Whole Foods across the street.
Now this is how you activate LA Live! By turning it into a community gathering spot in Downtown LA for all Angelenos. And that’s exactly what happened this past Friday when the popular Dark Nights event — as part of LA Live’s new “Summer in the City” events — successfully drew in thousands to come hang out at AEG’s flagship entertainment hub anchored in South Park. According to event organizers Melissa Richardson Banks of Downtown Muse and Edgar Varela of WeAreDTLA, over 20,000 people attended Dark Nights between 6 pm to 10 pm.
After over 5 years of operation, LA Live began the process of refreshing its tenant mix in 2013 with the introduction of several new concepts. Offering Chinese fusion cuisine, Triple 8 China Bar & Grill (the number “8” is a lucky number in Chinese), which officially debuted on May 21st, is the latest addition and replaces the once venerable Trader Vic’s on the Olympic Blvd side of LA Live. Although Triple 8’s menu is not overly large at this stage, it offers enough variety to satisfy most tastes and is a welcome addition to LA Live’s evolving dining mix. During my recent visit, I toured the space and sampled a variety of menu offerings including xiao long bao dumplings and several delicious entrees.