november, 19, 2004 archives

downtown retail development

here’s something extracted from the newdowntown mailing list archives, which is only open to members. (i’m not sure why, considering membership is not moderated, and yahoo! groups castrates email addresses in the messages.)

In reference to the question about a program for vacant storefronts....here's a brief summary of the program and its goals.

The Historic Downtown Los Angeles Retail Project and the Downtown Amenities Group Convened by Mayor Hahn's Office of Economic Development, the Downtown Amenities Group is a working group of Downtown LA stakeholders (City Council staff, City department staff, the LA Conservancy, property owners, retail consultants, residents, etc.) who seek to attract new retail and other amenities to Downtown vacancies. While Downtown welcomes major-credit anchor tenants, we believe that Historic Downtown's success as a thriving, 24-hour community for residents, tourists, business, and others is ultimately dependent on the creation of small retail/service/entertainment/arts establishments.

With a philosophy that "occupied storefronts build a neighborhood," we seek to attract unique amenities to Downtown Los Angeles vacancies. As a result of the work of the Downtown Amenities Group, the City created the Historic Downtown Los Angeles Retail Project, also known as the Targeted Retail Initiative.

This is a City program administered by the Community Development Department (CDD) with input and oversight provided by the Mayor's Office of Economic Development and other Downtown stakeholders. This program has contracted with VEDC to provide a project manager/retail consultant and a project assistant whose sole mission is to attract, retain and expand street-level retail and other small businesses to Historic Downtown. The primary service area is between 3rd and 9th Streets to the north and south, and Main and Hill Streets to the east and west. Minority and women-owned firms are also a focus of this project. The consultant team will assist with site location, business plans, marketing, inventory issues, access to capital and financing issues.

The Mayor's Office of Economic Development provides permitting assistance, identification of possible financial resources and City incentives, and other facilitation on an as needed basis. Services are available to new businesses, businesses interested in relocating within the project area, and existing businesses within the project area.

The Historic Downtown Retail Project has opened a Downtown office location at 315 W. 9th St. (at Hill St). The project currently has nearly 40 clients and is pursuing relationships with additional clients. The project team has also hosted or co-hosted several workshops in Historic Downtown to promote business opportunities to new and existing businesses. A comprehensive Historic Downtown marketing and business attraction package is in development and will be complete in late November 2004. A City-funded loan loss reserve program for these businesses is also in development. This program will largely be used to leverage financing for tenant improvements for small businesses within the project area.

The Downtown Amenities Group and the Historic Downtown Los Angeles Retail Project also work collaboratively with the Gallery Row Organization, which is a separate group that is focused on attracting galleries and related uses to Historic Downtown.

For more information and/or consulting services, please contact Warren Cooley or Audrey Madrigal with the Historic Downtown Los Angeles Retail Project at 213-488-3599.

For permit facilitation and assistance with City departments, please contact Tara Devine, Downtown LA Economic Development Representative for Mayor James K. Hahn, at [email protected]

there’s a tiny bit of other info about the targeted retail program and other los angeles business incentive programs on the city website.

this week’s los angeles citybeat has another article about the maybe-downtown-boom. a quote that jumped out at me: “Already, Gilmore [developer of the old bank district, where i live] says he’s inundated with retailers who want to put shops, cafés, and bars of all types in the ground floors of his buildings.” that would explain the empty storefronts in the continental and hellman buildings. (but warung café did finally open, although inexplicably only for breakfast and dinner at first. it seems like they’ve avoided the one time of day when there’s a chance they’d draw a healthy crowd.)

the video store is an idea that haunts me. maybe i should start playing the lottery.

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