Several months behind schedule, the roof is finally coming off at The Bloc in Downtown LA. What was scheduled to happen sometime in late February, the expansive atrium roof made of metal and glass that covered the front entrance to the former Macy’s Plaza started dismantling work in late May. However, it wasn’t until early last week that construction workers really started to tear off the roof piece by piece exposing a skeletal frame structure that now reveals the sky above. Standing next to the front entrance, even with all the messy construction going on, one can really get an exciting glimpse into what this place will be like once it completes its transformation into an outdoor shopping center filled with urban life and activity.
For those following The Bloc makeover project, we’ve seen a lot of new exciting developments that show a very bright future ahead for a once very dreadful place that stifled Downtown LA’s urban revitalization progress. We’ve seen what The Bloc will be like on 7th Street, Flower, and Hope. But very little was known about the 8th Street side of the project — until now. Yesterday, work started on three exciting permanent murals commissioned by The Bloc’s ownership, The Ratkovich Company, that will adorn the bland fortress-like walls, transforming the streetscape into a colorful and artistic urban experience.
Everyone wants more retail options in Downtown LA. And more retail options we shall get. One of the most exciting redevelopment projects in Downtown LA will be the complete overhaul of Macy’s Plaza, which includes 2.4 million square feet of commercial space comprising a mix of retail, hotel, and office. The new $160 million makeover of Macy’s Plaza will be renamed The Bloc and will be redeveloped by its new owner The Ratkovich Company (they acquired the property back in May 2013 for $241 million).
One of the biggest eye sores (and embarrassments) in all of Downtown Los Angeles — the 1970s “shopping fortress” known as Macy’s Plaza — has a very bright future ahead of it. One of LA’s most respected developers, The Ratkovich Company, has successfully acquired the dated complex from Jamison Services, Inc for $241 million according to the LA Times. The purchase, which closed escrow last week, includes not only the retail portion (Macy’s, Express, Bath and Body Works, LA Fitness, etc.) but also the 23-story, 485-room Sheraton hotel and the 33-story 700 S Flower office tower totaling 2.4 million square feet. Ratkovich plans to spend $160 million to upgrade the entire complex with some very exciting changes that will dramatically alter the urban landscape of the Financial District.
Back in March 2012, we reported that Macy’s was planning to put in about $7 million toward a renovation to spruce up an aging (to put it lightly) department store. I called it “lipstick on a pig” because the issue wasn’t just about fixing up an extremely lackluster Macy’s (hidden behind dated brick walls), but more about how poorly designed and detrimental the fortress-like mall is to Downtown LA’s future growth and development, which has effectively severed the Financial District from South Park, preventing the two districts from connecting synergistically. Much more major work would be needed to fix this prime example of poor urban design.
A source in the retail industry has informed me that Macy’s in Downtown LA (inside the Big Brown Bunker known as Macy’s Plaza sitting in the most prime location in Downtown LA’s Financial District) will be going through a “$7 million” renovation in the near future. So I checked with the customer service office inside Macy’s Plaza to see if I could dish up some more info. A lady I spoke to at Macy’s Plaza said she could not confirm much about the details but she was aware that “some kind of renovation” would take place “next year.”
Woop dee doo.