Neighborhood Spotlight: Downtown LA is soaring

Unless you’re new to Los Angeles, you remember well when
downtown LA was filled with office buildings and not much else. After five, the
district was virtually deserted. Only the occasional glimpse of a neglected
Beaux-Arts or Art Deco façade between overlaid storefront signs hinted at the
onetime vibrancy of this place. In the early decades of the 20th Century,
Downtown was LA. But with the rise of
car culture and the flight to the suburbs, it changed fast.

Then, late in the century, interest in urban life started
to reemerge. In 1990, DTLA – a collection of neighborhoods bounded by the Los
Angeles River and the Hollywood, Santa Monica and Harbor Freeways – became a
Business Improvement District. And it began to reemerge.

View of Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, with skyscrapers, The Broad and MOCA museums at sunset.

Today, cranes sprout overhead everywhere. Navigating requires
knowing which streets are closed for construction this week. The breakneck pace
of revival got even more urgent when LA was picked to host the 2028 Summer
Olympics. Energized by the belief that a strong core can benefit all of Los
Angeles and beyond, the emerging new DTLA is attracting business tenants,
cultural and culinary attractions, and young residents who love the urban way
of life and the ease of car-free commuting.

Not all businesses are building from scratch. Vintage structures
are enticing many businesses and institutions to plant roots downtown. The
Warner Music Group is relocating to the old Ford Factory, and Arizona State
University is leasing 80,000 square feet in the 1914 Herald Examiner Building,
designed by renowned architect Julia Morgan.

Entrance to the The Grand Central Market. The city’s largest and oldest public market is a place to experience the international diversity of Los Angeles with vendors selling fruit, vegetables, meat and spices and restaurants offering a variety of cuisines.

Nearly three million square feet of office space are now under
construction. An additional 3.3 million square feet have been proposed. More
than 35,000 residential projects are in the pipeline. Twenty years ago, 18,000 people
lived downtown. Today it’s around 70,000, with up to 200,000 projected in the
next two decades. And since residential development is the driver of the whole
DTLA transformation, these numbers point to a powerful future.

“Now that Downtown has grown a bit, it is more of a destination than ever before,” said Bill Cooper, Compass agent and associate manager of the Downtown Los Angeles office. “New homes, shopping establishments, fantastic restaurants, and upgraded public transportation are just a few reasons why home buyers are looking to downtown for their next home. Downtown has more housing inventory and lower prices than the Westside which also makes downtown very attractive.”

Exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry. It opened on 2003, as the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

A world of new Downtown

The resurgence
is turning DTLA
into a walkable, rail-friendly destination filled with
cultural experiences, great restaurants and fascinating buildings old and new. GQ
Magazine has called it America’s
Next Great City, and the coolest new downtown in the country. Here are just some
of the experiences to explore.


classic eateries to new culinary experiences, the DTLA restaurant scene is rich
and growing. Grand Central Market has brought the cuisines and
cultures of LA together for decades. Today, a new generation of vendors has joined longtime favorites. Fans
still flock to Philippe
the Original
, an LA institution since 1908, for
its French Dipped Sandwich. Recent arrivals include Bestia in
the Arts District,
where the food goes far beyond basics Italian, and the sleek WP24
by Wolfgang Puck
high atop the Ritz-Carlton. Great
cocktail sites range from hidden bars like The Edison in
the basement of an old power plant to wide-open rooftop view settings like Upstairs
at the Ace Hotel


discount fashion and vintage finds to high-end design, DTLA has it all. The Fashion District
is the epicenter of SoCal style, with influences from around the world. Olvera Street,
across from Union Station, is an old-school Mexican street market. The Flower District,
the largest flower market in the country, is one of LA’s quintessential


home to major museums The Broad and The
Museum of Contemporary Art
and world-class performing arts venues like Disney Concert Hall and The Music Center. The Little
Tokyo Historic District

is the heart of the largest Japanese-American population in North America.
The stunning
architecture of Union Station and the landmark Angels
Flight Railway
just two more attractions in the dynamic DTLA blend of old and new.

Busy streets of Fashion District.

Reference links

Downtown Center Business Improvement District

Downtown LA 2018 Year-End Market Report

Shared with permission from the Pacific Union Blog

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