A few years ago, there were stories flying about a mixed-use development called District La Brea replacing the big old Continental Graphics building on La Brea between First and Second Streets. District La Brea is now here (Phase II is underway), but it's not at all what we thought it would be. DC-based developer Madison Marquette is converting the 1930s-era buildings on the block into retail, restaurants, and creative offices (and no housing, as in old reports). Long Beach-based architecture firm Studio 111 is doing "facade renovation, interior core and shell build out, and streetscape work aimed at introducing pedestrian vitality," and MM adds in a press release that they're also "reviving the iconic buildings and exposing the unique patterned wood ceilings, original brick walls and steal beams." (The site was an Edsel dealership before it was the Continental Graphics headquarters.)
Buzzy tenants are already piling in--the couple behind Hatfields are opening their Sycamore Kitchen at the District in early 2012 and the What Goes Around Comes Around vintage store moved in this summer--so this could really heat up the neighborhood, which is full of small shops (and a big American Rag), but still isn't much of a pedestrian destination. MM is also trying to get city approval to put a crosswalk between their project and the American Rag across the street, and is hoping to start a Business Improvement District for the area, in which businesses pay assessments to help keep the neighborhood up. And of course no one's neglecting cars here--the project has a 125-space parking structure at Second and La Brea and a 44-space lot on First Street.
· District La Brea [Official Site]