About a century ago, subway riders use to come in and out of Downtown Los Angeles using an underground rail station at the southwest corner of Fourth and Hill streets. Now Los Angeles Architects have a plan to bring people back to the subterranean territory, although trains are not part of the plan, shopping is.
In Los Angeles an Architect is undertaking an ambitious plan to turn the lower levels of the Subway Terminal Building into a retail and creative office complex. Repurposing 130,000 square feet of space on the ground floor and even two underground levels of the building just about north of Pershing Square.
Los Angeles Architects turned the aboveground portion of the building into the 277-apartment Metro which holds 417 lofts in 2005. Now Frank Frallicciardi, he is the director of development for Forest City Residential West, Frallicciardi stated they are in the process of bringing the 91 year old space up to safety standards. But, they’re waiting on major restoration work until all tenants are secured.
The architectural firm Schultze and Weaver designed the Subway Terminal Building, opened in 1925 as a hub for the Red Car subway system, and took riders into and out of the heart of Downtown L.A. After the Red Car system faded, a section of the 12 story building’s underground space had served as office space for the Veterans Administration. It’s been vacant for decades.
A large area of the ground floor has an Art Deco feel, containing ornately carved columns with 18 foot high copper ceilings. It also has two large skylights that are currently covered. Los Angeles Architects plan to uncover them and create an open market of vendors flanked by office space and larger bristo’s. The first underground level where travelers once passed through turnstiles, is about 40,000 square feet and has eight foot ceilings. Frallicciardi stated he expects it will serve as office space for one or possibly two tenants, they could hold other Los Angeles Architectural firms.
20 foot ceilings and about 45,000 square feet of open space is what the lowest level holds. Frallicciardi says it could hold up to three tenants, and possibly a gym. At one end of the floor is the old train tunnel, owned by the city and closed off.
Los Angeles Architects Dealing With Imploding Construction
As the Downtown retail scene is exploding, Los Angeles Architects are dealing with clusters of stores in places such as Broadway, the renovated Bloc and FIGat7th complexes, and also with the One Santa Fe project in the Arts District. Can’t leave the arrival of The Grand on Grand Avenue, it’s a 1.1 million square foot Broadway Trade Center at Eighth Street and Broadway, and at Mateo, which is also located in the Arts District.
New project’s size and location in Downtown make it a hot spot, according to Justin Weiss, a senior associate at real estate firm Kennedy Wilson. Weiss pointed to the building’s history and design, and stated additional pedestrian traffic would attract locals and visitors.
Weiss also noted a Downtown residential growth that has gone up to 58,000 people, with even more expected to come as soon as new apartments and condominiums are built. He stated the local retail scene is playing catch up actually.
“If you want to do lots of shopping, you’re going to Melrose, to Old Town Pasadena, to the Beverly Center, these different places that you can spend all day shopping. Downtown doesn’t have that,” Weiss said. “At Mateo, The Bloc, these shopping centers are going to be their own things. It might be a bit similar, but a rising tide floats all boats.”
Los Angeles Architects Attempting To Attract More People
One aspect of Los Angeles Architects goes counter to life in Los Angele, meaning the underground component. The city’s temperate weather attracts people outdoors, and although there is subterranean shopping at Fifth and Flower streets, another large underground retail location, the Los Angeles Mall has not been up to par to locals for decades.
Weiss said Downtown has a history of hosting smaller basement spaces, this includes the bar the Edison in the Higgins Building. He also stated the shopping center at Fifth and Flower draws large crowds around the lunch rush. With the right tenants, the Subway Terminal Building could succeed.
Cornwell of JLL is even more compelling. She stated about the project’s overall size, it’s likely the mix of tenants and its location will bring in more people.
“It’s near the Metro. It’s near Pershing Square and the restaurant Perch is right across the street,” she stated. “Our main goal now is to activate it on the street to bring people inside.”
An ongoing search for occupants is underway. Frallicciardi stated that once a tenant, big or small, is signed sealed and delivered, it would take eight months to possibly a year to renovate their space of choosing. Los Angeles Architects state that the price of the project will depend on tenants and whatever kinds of improvements are required.
Though early, Frallicciardi stated he hopes to have people starting improvements by the end of 2016.
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