What was supposed to open last November, and even with all the delays plaguing The Bloc (with some potentially serious financial consequences coming up in April with an updated statement regarding this from The Bloc see below), there are definitely also some silver linings that we can all still be excited about. One of those bright spots is the amazing makeover happening inside the Macy’s department store (although technically separate from The Bloc’s own $180 million makeover project). It seemed a bit far-fetched at the time, but checking out the improvements made inside, it really is starting to live up to the expectations of becoming a new bona fide flagship store for Los Angeles.
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.
I really gotta hand it to The Ratkovich Company. After they purchased Macy’s Plaza in May 2013 from Jamison, it’s been nothing but positive changes that have happened under their new ownership as the fortress-looking shopping center built in 1972 (now renamed The Bloc) is in the midst of being completely remodeled from head-to-toe. Not only is the new tenant mix super exciting (i.e., SF’s Wingtip men’s store, Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, etc.), but Ratkovich is doing everything they can to make the center approachable and pedestrian friendly, including the 8th Street side of the property located “in the back” of the complex. Because of the parking entrances and loading docks that must remain, it was tougher to figure out how to engage pedestrians on 8th Street. Ratkovich decided to implement permanent artistic murals on the large blank walls that line the south side of the property.
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.
Since Urban Outfitters and Acne Studios opened on Broadway in late December of last year, a whirlwind of new retailers have setup shop almost overnight nearby 9th and Broadway and the new Ace Hotel. OAK NYC, Tanner Goods, Aesop, and A.P.C. to name a few. But all up and down Broadway is fair game for other retailers including the apparent signing of Burlington Coat Factory at 7th/Broadway. Now, rumors are picking up that other large well-known brands — which once eschewed Downtown LA like the plague — have not only taken notice of all this new retail activity, but are actively looking for suitable spaces in Downtown LA as well. Where? Specifically along retail-conducive streets like Broadway and 7th Street where large redevelopment projects like The Bloc and Wilshire Grand Tower continue to generate buzz. Names like Gap, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Forever 21, and Anthropologie have all come up as brands searching or eyeing Downtown LA. No exact locations are yet confirmed for any of these brands, but the fact is, eventually they will find a home here. Only a matter of time. Also, within the next month or so, both Zara and H&M will be opening their exciting new LA flagship stores at FIGat7th that will further add fuel to the growing retail fire in Downtown LA.
Feast your eyes on the newest renderings of the exciting $160 million makeover of The Bloc (formerly Macy’s Plaza) located in the heart of Downtown LA’s Financial District bounded by bustling 7th Street, Flower and Hope, as well as 8th Street to the south. The 1.8 million square foot mixed-use project will be transformed from the current eye-sore, brick fortress into an updated, modern commercial hub of 400,000 sf of retail, 750,000 sf office, and a $40 million updated 485-room Sheraton Hotel that will contribute significantly to the unprecedented urban revitalization happening in Downtown LA.
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.