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How the Ace Hotel Engineered Broadway's Speedy Yuppification

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Broadway's revival has been in the works for a long time (historic theater rehabs, streetscape overhauls), but it seems like it's really kicked into warp speed in the last six months, with tony retailers and fancy eateries popping up at a steady pace. For many people, the linchpin was the trendy Ace Hotel, but that's only half of the story, says the LA Weekly. In truth, the whole revitalization is a package deal based around the hotel, the result of careful planning by a firm called Tungsten Properties. Tungsten's work with the Ace in LA went beyond scouting hotel properties to a full hipness injection for the surrounding area, starting even before the hotel was officially open. (They did the same for the Ace in Manhattan.) "Once a building is acquired for an Ace Hotel, instead of waiting for the street to become fashionable on its own, Tungsten Property brings in a cluster of trendy retailers, which then attract other shops" like a cool magnet.

So that's why, over the last 18 months, nine new retailers have opened within a two-block radius of the hotel. Super-high-end jeans retailer ACNE, fancy leatherware store Tanner Goods—the arrival of classy shops and eateries is not a mistake, it's all part of the plan to create a bubble to attract not just foot-traffic, but also other shops. The retailers and the hotel together buttress each other to make the area more desirable. The city's Bringing Back Broadway effort, which has pushed for pedestrian-friendly street upgrades and the re-lighting of some of the theaters' neon signage, hasn't hurt either, contributing greatly to the overall feeling that a revitalization has taken hold in the area.

Of course, all this abrupt hotness means that the rents on Broadway around the hotel have almost doubled in a short time. Some retailers are closing up shop as a result of competition from the Ross Dress for Less; others are being booted in favor of what are imagined to be more desirable tenants (though most of the new existing stores have gone into previously vacant storefronts). Like it or not, the street's upward (read: upscale) momentum seems unstoppable right now.
· How the Ace Hotel Is the Invisible Hand Driving Downtown's Gentrification [LAW]
· Here's Your First Look Inside Broadway's Brand New Ace Hotel [Curbed LA]