Downtown Boom (Part 1)
Your publisher drove around last week with Jon Regardie, longtime editor of the LA Downtown News, and asked him to rank the hottest submarkets, and point out cool new projects in each.
Of course we had to start with some nourishment, and went to one of the hottest restaurants in all LA, Factory Kitchen, near 6th and Alameda in the Arts District, where we snapped Jon showing us his paper’s recent listing of 97 ongoing or planned projects.
Being careful, of course, not to spill any almond basil pesto or spicy tomato passata on it.
Jon dates the current Downtown boom from 2012 and says it involves many more institutional owners and developers than the first boom of 2001-06. For example, prominent individuals like Tom Gilmore pioneered before, whereas today you’re likelier to see a private equity player like CIM Group buying Two Cal Plaza on Bunker Hill, as it did a couple weeks ago. (We snapped the 751 foot tower with One Cal Plaza so as not to arouse jealousy between the fraternal twins.)
And it’s a new era when Brookfield has become the largest Downtown owner by buying the Gas Company Tower to the right, as well as Wells Fargo Tower and others from MPG, and when Singapore’s OUE last June bought the city’s tallest building, US Bank Tower, center. Not to mention the Chinese state enterprise called Greenland Group revealing plans two weeks ago for the $1B Metropolis hotel and residential project next to LA Live.
Of course remarkable individuals are still active, as Jon points out a parking lot next to Pershing Square that developer Victor MacFarlane plans to turn into 24-story and 7-story residential towers. We’ve also reported on big redevelopments underway like Wayne Ratkovich’s The Bloc, and Nelson and Chris Rising’s PacMutual campus. Now, onto the submarket rankings; don’t blame Jon, we did some coaxing.
#1: The Arts District
Canyon Johnson’s One Santa Fe is huge, 438 apartments and 78k SF of retail all down this eponymous block—some of which will be ready this summer. Also, community outdoor and gallery space, 800 underground parking spots, and a yet unannounced grocery store. (Whole Foods would be nice, but Trader Joe’s is considered the holy grail.)
Barker Block features 68 new lofts, the first Downtown condos in a couple years, done by Henry Cisneros’s CityView with financing from Blackstone. It’s not only across from the La Kretz Innovation Campus (a tech incubator under construction), but down the block from an Urth Café, showing the neighborhood is already on the map. The rankings resume in our next edition.