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How Retail Development Will Shape the Future of Downtown

From housing to creative office and even retail, there may be no hotter market in the region than Downtown. We've gathered the best and brightest at one of the city's most exciting retail projects to host Bisnow's first DTLA: The Future of Urban Retail, presented with the Downtown Center Business Improvement District. It takes place Thursday, Nov. 5, at The BLOC, starting at 8am.

Our keynote speaker will be Carol Schatz (snapped with ULI LA's Gail Goldberg a while back), CEO of both the BID and the Central City Association. (The DCBID's director of economic development, Nick Griffin, also will be a speaker.) Carol tells us the world is looking at Downtown LA, with about 1.8M SF of retail under development and a vacancy rate of just 6%. One of the more exciting things, she says, is the imminent opening of our venue—Ratkovich Co's reimagining of the old Macy's Plaza, a square block in the heart of the business district.

The BLOC is a JV of Ratkovich and partners National Real Estate Advisors and Blue Vista Capital. The developers haven't announced all of the retailers yet, but Carol says we'll all be astounded with the people they've signed up. The true sign national retail brands are focusing on DTLA is that Macy's is making this a flagship store, she adds. In addition, the Broadway Trade Center on another square block of Downtown (just at you enter the historic core), has begun renovations. Another project Carol cites, MATEO in the Arts District, will include a very cool, open-air mall.

All of the major Chinese investments, such as the Hazens site at 1021 Figueroa (above), and projects by Greenland USA and Oceanwide Holdings, are planned to have retail on the ground floor. When Acne Studios, a fashion house from Sweden whose first and only US store was in NYC, opened its second US store at Broadway and Ninth in LA, it was a sign that Downtown has become a cool, hip destination for shopping, she says. But not just hipster stuff. "We want a range of retail for all income levels."

Carol says Downtown made tremendous progress in attracting national brands to Brookfield's FIGat7th, attracting everything from fashion retailers like H&M and Zara to CityTarget, which appeals to the entire Downtown population. She says you can't have a vibrant downtown or city center if you don't have vibrant retail, because it's what you see when you're walking down the street. Hear more from Carol and our star-studded list of speakers, including Ratkovich CEO Wayne Ratkovich at Bisnow's DTLA: The Future of Urban RetailThursday at The Bloc (700 W Seventh) starting at 8am. Sign up here.