clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Downtown's Enormous Broadway Trade Center to House a Super-Fancy Miniature City

Last we heard, the new owners of the enormous and historic Broadway Trade Center, just off Broadway at Hill and Eighth, were hoping to snag one major tenant (Apple?) and turn the building into a tech campus, but now it seems like that plan has mingled with earlier ones proposing a hotel and retail to create a sort of super-fancy, super-elaborate, multi-use complex in the Trade Center's 1.1 million square feet of space. Waterbridge Capital, which bought the BTC last year for around $130 million, is envisioning a mix of about a dozen uses, including a hotel, a food hall, 500,000 square feet of office space, and 200,000 square feet of luxury retail (Louis Vuitton and Tiffany's are name-dropped), says the LA Times. We're not sure who wants to buy an actual Louis Vuitton in Downtown (knock-offs are another story), but maybe if you build it, they will come?

Waterbridge hope the new BTC, originally opened in 1908, will also house a 200-room hotel, "a health club, two swimming pools, a community park, an urban farm and a luxury spa with a Turkish bath." Central to this incredible-sounding complex will be a two-story, "great, sexy food hall-market", says Robert Cohen, the president of RKF, which is in charge of leasing out the retail space. The rooftop will have bars, restaurants, and decks.

Cohen compares Broadway now to SoHo in the '80s, when the New York neighborhood shifted from gritty to "desirable" for the kind of person who wants to live in a fancy loft. "You still had to look over your shoulder, but you knew something cool was coming and you weren't going to be able to stop it," he says. Come on guys, there's an Ace Hotel and super-expensive jeans a couple of blocks away. Is it really all that dodgy still?

Apparently. The chief executive of Waterbridge Capital, Joel Schreiber, is hoping that combining pretty much every possible use under the sun inside one lovely, adaptively-reused old building will be just what this on-the-cusp street needs to turn itself around. "'We can create a lot of value and help change the neighborhood,' Schreiber said, helping it evolve as an area where residents and visitors fill the sidewalks at all hours." Sorry to everyone who's been hanging out on Broadway, including the thousands of people who were out last weekend for its big comeback celebration—you apparently do not exist.

Anyway, the huge variety of uses is nothing new for the Broadway Trade Center. It's housed all sorts of tenants, from the Los Angeles Public Library to a May Company and a Hamburger department store to a 1,000-seat theater.
· L.A.'s Broadway poised for a major revival [LAT]
· Huge Broadway Trade Center Getting Mixed-Use Makeover [Curbed LA]

May Company Building

6067 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA