The art district is a vibrant, rapidly developing area, which is attracting innovative businesses and projects. Here are just some of the latest news articles:

Arts District Center

Called Arts District Center on the architects’ website, the project would bring 129 live/work condos to the neighborhood, as well as a 113-room “boutique ‘art’ hotel” and 70,000 square feet of eateries and stores.

To keep things artsy, the complex will also include a pedestrian-oriented “art plaza” on the corner of Fifth and Seaton, and an art gallery and event space measuring over 10,000 square feet.

The project has been “nearly a decade in the making” says Urbanize.

It’s planned for a lot between Seaton and Colyton streets on Fifth Street, just a block west of the popular Urth Caffe and not far from the new Arts District park.

Source: Curbed Los Angeles

Warner Music is leaving Burbank, Westside for downtown L.A.’s Arts District

Already a growing haven for artists, fashionistas, foodies and techies, the Arts District is about to get a major influx of song and dance.

In a shift that reflects the increasing importance of infusing the music industry with tech culture, Warner Music Group plans to move hundreds of employees from Burbank and the Westside into a renovated former auto plant in the downtown neighborhood.

“After years of courting tech and media, downtown has finally snagged a whopper,” said Muhlstein, who was not involved in the deal. “Downtown has been rehearsing for this part for close to 10 years, and Warner Music took them up on it.”…

Source: Los Angeles Times

Vice President Joe Biden Visits LACI

On Monday November 16, Vice President of the United States Joe Biden visited the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) to take part in a roundtable discussion with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, LACI CEO Fred Walti and a panel of investors and entrepreneurs to discuss jobs and clean technology.

Panelists included LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards, Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Kelli Bernard, LACI Board Members Jim McDermott, Richard Morganstern and David Nahai, TCW Managing Director Tom Soto, as well as several entrepreneurs from LACI’s portfolio of companies, who got the Vice President’s ear for a few minutes while getting to share with him their innovative technologies.

Biden’s visit gave Mayor Garcetti and LACI’s Fred Walti a chance to show off the newly opened La Kretz Innovation Campus, a facility built and owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and now LACI’s home in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. Garcetti’s opening remarks highlighted the features of the new facility and the impact La Kretz will have on the economy and the cleantech landscape in Los Angeles…

Source: Vice President Joe Biden Visits LACI

The Home of the Future Is in the Heart of Los Angeles’ Arts District

Humans like to measure things: how big; how small; how long; how far; and, often, how much. Just look at the proliferation ofwearable devices to track everything from sleep patterns to burned calories. And so many of today’s smartphone apps reflect that human desire to track progress; get more done; or save time, money, or effort.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) appear to feel the same way about measuring: Their new Home of the Future, a collaborative exhibit space, demonstrates the newest connected devices, technologies, and services to help homeowners save energy and water. The goal is to keep the space constantly refreshed with cutting-edge products and appliances, as well as building technologies, from LACI’s portfolio of cleantech startups…

Source: Line Shape Space

A + D Museum Grand Reopening in the DTLA Arts District with “Shelter”

In the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District, A + D Museum, has just finished turning a warehouse into a museum, that will become their new home. They will open this saturday June 27, 2015, with a show titled“Shelter”. The exhibition, will celebrate the belief that a well-designed habitat creatively and functionally expresses its relationship to site, neighbor, and occupant.

The grand re-opening will also double for their 5th annual fund raising gala, where a silent auction of custom-designed “shelters” created by architecture and design luminaries, and installed exhibit-style in the new space will occur. All pieces have been donated and will be auctioned that evening, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Museum.

For a list of the participating artist, please see the link to the A + D Museum website here. 

Throughout the evening, guests will dine on premier cuisine, cocktails, music, and much more while bidding on one-of-a-kind works and on-theme items to grace and invigorate their own shelters. The hosts will be Emcee and actor Boise Thomas.

Cartwheel Art and Cartwheel Art Tours are extremely excited to welcome A + D Museum to our neighborhood and look forward to their exhibitions, installations and programming. One of their most recent exhibition “Beyond Graffiti 2″, which was one of our favorites that included many of the graffiti artists that we follow and whose mural work we see with Cartwheel Art Tours. As for programming, an example would be the lecture series which recently offered Michael Maltzan for a discussion and presentation. 

Source: Cartwheel Art

Is the Arts District Big Enough for Three Meatless Restaurants?

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – It’s getting so you can’t toss a marinated kelp noodle in the Arts District without hitting a vegan or vegetarian restaurant.

In less than a year, three large, prominent meatless eateries — two vegan and one vegetarian — have opened within about five blocks of each other. The latest addition, Café Gratitude, with 150 seats, began serving on the ground floor of the 438-apartment One Santa Fe in March.

Café Gratitude joins wellness center The Springs, which has a 92-seat vegan restaurant, that opened at 608 Mateo St. in November. The first arrival was Zinc Café & Market, a 190-seat establishment that began serving at 580 Mateo St. in May 2014.

The Arts District is booming, and every week seems to bring word of another expensive new project, whether a housing complex or the transformation of an aging industrial building into a hive of creative office space. Still, the sudden meatless eatery crush raises a business question: Is the community big enough to support three restaurants that, to some observers, seem strikingly similar?

The operators of the establishments, and many of their customers, say there is absolutely enough room for everyone.

“We have always been excited about the growing trend of vegan and vegetarian food all over Los Angeles and specifically in the Arts District,” said Jared Stein, co-founder of The Springs, which in addition to the raw vegan restaurant holds a juice bar, yoga studio and services such as an infrared sauna.

While carnivores may see a similarity, Stein said the three restaurants have significantly different menus. Whereas his Springs is entirely raw, with choices such as sweet pea pistachio cake and spaghetti made from kelp and zucchini noodles, Zinc Café & Market serves eggs and cheese. The Arts District’s Cafe Gratitude, part of a small chain based in San Francisco, has both cooked and raw food.

“People tend to think of veganism as a fringe group, but they never question the number of coffee shops or Italian restaurants in a given neighborhood,” Stein said. He added that 75% of his customers are meat eaters who enjoy the healthy choices The Springs offers.

Like Stein, Zinc owner John Secretan reported that business is booming. He said that it is not about competition among the herbivores, and laughed at the suggestion of the Arts District “vegan wars.” Instead, he said, the neighborhood flecked with 100-year-old brick buildings is filling with young, urban types who pay attention to what they’re consuming.

Secretan also noted that vegetarianism is trending in the restaurant world — another Downtown meatless spot, Au Lac, opened this spring in the old First & Hope space on Bunker Hill. He said it is no surprise that two other organic, plant-based eateries came online nearby less than a year after Zinc began offering chickpea sliders and kombucha on draft.

Plenty of Options

It’s not just meatless establishments coming to the area. The Arts District has become one of Los Angeles’ most buzzed-about restaurant scenes, with high-profile eateries including Bestia, Factory Kitchen and Church & State. The trend will only continue: Across from Zinc, Secretan said, four restaurants are planned for the open-air retail complex At Mateo. A couple of blocks to the north, prominent restaurateur Bill Chait is preparing two new establishments.

Secretan likened the dining action in the neighborhood to what occurred early on in now hip neighborhoods such as Brooklyn’s Williamsburg, Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and the Pearl District of Portland.

“Soon we’ll have whatever we want in this neighborhood,” he said. “I saw this coming, but it was Bestia, Church & State, Urth Caffé and Wurstküche who were the real pioneers.”

The proprietors will be counting on diners such as Cindy Schwarzstein, who lives in and gives tours of the Arts District. During a weeknight visit to Café Gratitude, she sampled a green smoothie with ingredients such as spinach, kale, hemp seeds and Himalayan sole, described by the server as an “energy balancing elixir.”

Schwarzstein said she is happy to have more healthy eating options in her neighborhood. She also applauded the animal-friendly counterparts — dogs are welcome on the patios at all three restaurants.

“I feel this restaurant fits into the demographics of what is coming into the neighborhood,” said Schwarzstein, who founded the online magazine Cartwheel Art. “A lot of the people who live here are concerned about sustainability and eating healthier.”

Café Gratitude also has locations in Venice and on Larchmont. General Manager Alice Lui said the company wanted to open in the Arts District because the community is both thriving and environmentally conscious. The restaurant’s operations follow that vision: The tables are fashioned from reclaimed wood and the kitchen recycles waste using a compost pile.

Moving into an area with two other vegetarian restaurants was an added bonus, she believes.

“It provides a synergy,” she said.

One other thing sets Café Gratitude apart from its plant-based neighbors: The menu items have adjectives and nouns intended to bring positivity to the table. For example, the Ecstatic is oven-roasted Brussels sprouts, and an order of baked kale chips is labeled Vivacious. The sautéed vegetable bowl is dubbed Fortified.

Additionally, when servers drop off an item, they also deliver an affirmation. On a recent visit, a plate of garnet yam cauliflower samosas was accompanied by the waiter saying, “You are all dynamic.”

When asked about the affirmations, which may cause some customers to roll their eyes, Lui said people have been talking about it since they opened in San Francisco more than 10 years ago. It may be unusual, but given that Café Gratitude is expanding, it seems there is a Downtown audience for what they do.


Source: LA DT News

ARTS DISTRICT PARK: Construction is underway at the $1.6 million, half-acre park at Fifth and Hewitt streets in the Arts District. Workers broke ground in December on the attraction just south of Urth Caffe. The park will feature an eight-foot wall for mural art, outdoor eating areas and plaza space, a playground, shade trees, concrete seating and lighting. The money for the park was secured through Quimby fees, which developers pay for park creation. Completion is expected this summer, and will be coordinated with a ceremony for the adjacent, under-construction La Kretz Innovation Campus, a 30,000-square-foot clean technology project and business incubator.

Source: Topping Town

LOS ANGELES RIVER: Last May, the Army Corps of Engineers announced its support of an estimated $1 billion Los Angeles River revitalization plan, dubbed Alternative 20. The effort, backed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, would restore 719 acres and tear out three miles of concrete channeling, and include connections from the waterway to Los Angeles State Historic Park. Now the city is looking for money to cover half of the project; the funds could potentially come in the form of property taxes, thanks to a new law that allows certain tax dollars to be used on revitalization and public works projects. In January, the City Council asked city staff to create a detailed report on how Los Angeles could create an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District to restore and improve 31 miles of the river; the report is due in the beginning of March. At

Source: KTLA

Oceanwide Ground Break: Just a year after Shanghai-based developer Greenland broke ground on the Metropolis mega-project north of L.A. Live, another Chinese real estate juggernaut is putting shovels in the dirt for its own massive development.

Beijing-based Oceanwide is scheduled to hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, March 19, for a roughly $1 billion project that will rise on a 4.6-acre lot just east of Staples Center. It marks a turnaround for a site that had been in development turmoil for nearly a decade.

The development, dubbed Fig Central, will feature one 49-story tower and two 40-story towers, all sitting on top of a 100-foot-tall podium. The podium will have 1,444 parking stalls and an open-air galleria with more than 166,000 square feet of retail space. The project will be built in a single phase.

Fig Central is the first real estate venture outside of China for Oceanwide. The developer bought the site and its entitlements last year for a reported $200 million from New York City-based Moinian Group. Fig Central is slated for completion by 2018.

“We feel that Downtown L.A. has become the most vibrant area of Los Angeles, and we look forward to helping accelerate its growth and adding to its renewed vitality,” Thomas Feng, CEO of Tohigh Construction Investment, Oceanwide’s local subsidiary, wrote in an email.

Fig Central’s towers will have 504 condominiums and 183 hotel rooms. Most of the property’s amenities, including a pool and a park, will sit on a deck on top of the podium overlooking Figueroa Street. A 30,000-square-foot ribbon of LED signage will wind around the podium and illuminate the street below.

“This site deserves landmark architecture and we’ve been advised that it’s the prime residential site in Downtown,” said Mark Nay, senior associate vice president at RTKL and the project manager on Fig Central. “We want this to become a signature address and something everyone visiting L.A. wants to see.”

Source: DT News

SOHO House: For several years, insiders have wondered when the wildly oversubscribed Soho House West Hollywood finally would embark on an expansion. The answer, it turns out, is next year. Club founder Nick Jones tells THR he recently zeroed in on an 80,000-square-foot property in downtown L.A.’s Arts District. “It will be called Soho Warehouse,” he says. The move comes on the heels of an aggressive global expansion financed by a $383 million investment from billionaire owner Ron Burkle, which has seen new outposts of the club everywhere from Chicago to Istanbul.

“The Arts District location,” explains Jones, “will include artist studio rooms where you can stay for a period of time — a couple of weeks, a couple of months.” Which building has been chosen is a mystery: Speculation had centered on a five-story brick warehouse at 405 Mateo St., at the base of the historic 4th Street Bridge, but Soho House says the location is elsewhere. Unlike the West Hollywood site, its downtown counterpart will have a rooftop pool as well as a gym. The West Hollywood site also will be going through renovations. Events spaces are being banished; in their place, Jones is building an additional restaurant (serving Mediterranean-style cuisine) and what Jones terms “a club within a club” called the Sunset Lounge, which will feature music acts in the evenings.

A driving force behind the plans, explains Soho House design director Vicky Charles, is that membership is “at capacity” and the events spaces primarily were servicing nonmembers (too often “a wrong element,” says an insider). “An event is one member and 30 guests, and that’s not what we’re about,” says Charles. “When members are complaining that they can’t get a space in the club for breakfast, that’s a problem.” Jones also reveals that Soho House is planning a co-working concept “within walking distance to the West Hollywood club” for the fall, with a separate membership (existing members would receive a deep discount).

Such a play will put the brand in direct competition with its former membership director Tim Geary, who in September joined NeueHouse, which has built a niche in New York as a chic co-working space and is slated to expand this summer to the historic CBS Building on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Insists Jones, “We cohabit very well together with NeueHouse in New York, and I think it’ll be the same in L.A.” Jones’ expansion plans are digital, too. He tells THR a beta version of House Connect, a social network just for members, is set to roll out as early as this spring. “We’re almost there with it.”

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

SunCal Purchase: SunCal, a developer of master-planned communities, bought a downtown Los Angeles site the size of 11 football fields for $130 million as the aging industrial area transforms into an artsy neighborhood.

“This is the largest L.A. development opportunity around,” said Bradford McCarthy, a CBRE Group Inc. senior vice president who represented the seller of the 14.6-acre (5.9-hectare) property in a transaction that closed Tuesday. “For just land, $130 million is a lot to pay. And it’s a lot of acreage.”

Development is surging in downtown Los Angeles as the U.S. economy recovers and urban real estate in Southern California remains a bargain compared with land in Manhattan, San Francisco or Hong Kong. Investors have poured more than $17.3 billion into central Los Angeles since 1999, including 29 buildings under construction and 40 more in the pipeline, according to a 2014 year-end report by the Downtown Center Business Improvement District.

SunCal’s plans for the site, purchased with financing from Michael Dell’s family office, MSD Capital, are still being formed for a mixed-use project expected to take years to complete, according to Jeff Sofferman, a senior vice president for the Irvine, California-based developer. A combination of office, live-work and retail space is being considered for the property, he said.

“It’s rare to have the opportunity to be able to plan a site situated squarely amidst the arts and award-winning restaurants,” SunCal President Stephan Elieff said in an e-mailed statement. “It provides great access to the other dynamic neighborhoods in the downtown Los Angeles market as well as regional transportation infrastructure.”

Source: Bloomberg Business

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Moves to The Arts District 

Hyperloop isn’t all hype.

A company behind the futuristic, high-speed transportation system fantasized by Tesla and SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk has leased warehouse space in downtown Los Angeles and is rapidly adding new workers to a staff of 20 full-time employees.

Musk’s imaginary Hyperloop would use vacuum tubes to transport freight and passengers at speeds of 750 mph, racing from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour. Until recently, it’s been little more than an idea.

Wedged into a corner abutting Interstate 10, the Los Angeles River and railroad tracks, Hyperloop shares a scruffy, graffiti-marked block with a fish wholesaler and a number of garment factories.

Tuesday morning, young men wearing jeans, T-shirts and baseball caps were arriving for work at the company’s unmarked front door.

An owner of the property said Hyperloop has committed to leasing nearly 38,000 square feet in the current building and an adjacent property over the next 12 months.

The proximity of the renovated former industrial building with curving bow-truss ceilings to an Industrial Revolution-era transportation may be intentional.

“It has barn doors on the back that overlook an industrial yard [and] a very urban vibe,” said landlord Jeff Weller of Lion Real Estate Group. “Being next to the train tracks is hopefully very symbolic for them.”

The area does have amenities. The neighborhood boasts a Stumptown Coffee roastery, the Greenbar Craft Distillery liquor company, and, on the corner, an open-all-night strip club called the Playpen.

The surrounding blocks are home to foodie destinations Bestia and Factory Kitchen and the artsy bar Villains Tavern. The cutting-edge campus of Southern California Institute of Architecture is a short distance away.

Important for Musk, who in late 2013 spent almost $24 million to acquire a pair of estates in Bel-Air, the Arts District property is only two blocks from an onramp for the westbound Santa Monica Freeway.

The neighborhood has been a favorite of L.A.’s apparel industry for years, said real estate broker John Zanetos of CBRE Group Inc., who represented the landlord in the Hyperloop lease. Over the last two years a few tech firms have also arrived, and more are on the horizon.

“Tech, entertainment and design-related firms are looking at the Arts District as a viable location,” he said.

First publicly theorized in 2013, Musk’s Hyperloop idea has attracted some high-tech and high-finance wizards. Hyperloop Technologies is co-chaired by venture capitalist and Uber underwriter Shervin Pishevar and Musk’s former PayPal COO David O. Sacks and includes on its board X Prize Foundation Chairman Peter Diamandis and President Obama’s former campaign guru Jim Messina.

Musk is not an officer of the company nor on the Hyperloop board.

The push to develop Hyperloop’s practical technology is being led by former SpaceX engineer Brogan BamBrogan.

Funded by a reported $8.5 million in seed money, the company has raised an additional $20 million of the estimated $80 million it will need to build a five-mile Hyperloop test track, according to the source. Musk has said the track might be constructed in Texas.

The company’s website has job postings for 29 positions, offering work for engineers, designers, technicians, an office manager and an “aerodynamicist.”

Source: LA Times