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How Google Has Radically Gentrified Venice's Lowkey Rose Ave.


For years, Abbot Kinney has been the epicenter of Venice's extreme gentrification, but now that it's completely glutted with high-end chain stores, attentions have turned to more lowkey Rose Avenue to the north. The street will lose a couple long-time anchor businesses soon, and locals see it as a pivotal point for the avenue, one signaling its full transition from edgy old Venice to fancy, wealthy new Venice. Ten years ago, Rose was "kitschy at best and dumpy at worst," the LA Business Journal says, but like so much of Venice, it's really been changed by an influx of money that began after tech companies and their employees began moving in.

Rose Avenue's transition has been underway for a few years now. A Whole Foods opened in 2008, but many feel that a later addition made more of a difference: in 2011, Google moved into the Binoculars Building just south of Rose, bringing with it lots and lots of tech employees and their tech money. In 2012, a shiny new mixed-use housing complex went up on the Pioneer Bakery property at Rose and Fifth, vacant since the bakery closed in 2006. The complex's street-level retail includes a juice place, a yoga studio, and a Café Gratitude, where dishes have names that are affirmations ("I Am Magical," "I Am Warm-Hearted")—in other words, the three horsemen of the gentrification apocalypse. And things haven't slowed down since. Just recently, local mainstay Rose Café was bought by restaurateur Bill Chait and rebranded The Rose; at least one more new eatery could be on the way too.

One of the two long-time fixtures on Rose now potentially set to leave is La Fiesta Brava, a Mexican restaurant that's operated for 23 years. The restaurant was handed an eviction notice in October; their spot is already being scouted by the owner of a couple "Abbot Kinney hot spots" for a new restaurant. Just down the street, DNA Clothing—also in business for 23 years—is closing up shop for good after their rent was tripled. An area broker says rents on Rose Avenue right now are at about $6.50 a square foot (though one newly constructed building is hoping to fetch $10). While that's still much cheaper than Abbot Kinney (where rents are about $15 to $20 per square foot), it's about double what it was before Google moved in.

Back in 2012, noticing the shift underway, the LA Times concluded, "Urban planners say Rose Avenue is unlikely to become the next Abbott Kinney ... but the breakneck pace of change along these once shabby blocks connecting Lincoln Boulevard to Pacific Avenue suggests that the down-and-out bohemian days of this countercultural beach neighborhood are numbered."
· New Wave [LABJ]
· Google Moves Into Gehry's Binoculars Building in Venice [Curbed LA]
· March Opening for Mixed-Use at Venice's Old Pioneer Bakery [Curbed LA]