Thirty Acres And A Plan

Downtown Los Angeles continues to shine with the arrival of ROW DTLA

Written by Constance Dunn | Images courtesy of Runyon Group

A new chapter in the transformation of downtown Los Angeles is being penned with the arrival of one of the city’s most ambitious projects—Row DTLA. Located on the edge of the Arts District, the modern re-visioning of nearly two million square feet of space can justifiably be characterized as a district unto itself.

“The scale of the site—having 30 acres in the heart of the second biggest city in the country is an unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime type of opportunity to work on,” says David Fishbein, co-owner with Joseph Miller of Runyon Group, the real estate company responsible for filling Row’s sprawl of historic buildings with a targeted mix of retailers and restaurants. Runyon Group is partner with Row project owner Atlas Capital Group on the venture, and is also responsible for Culver City’s commercial development Platform.

From The Ground Up

Six existing structures, most of them glass-paneled industrial buildings erected during the city’s early 20th-century boom years, are being modernized and integrated by architect Mark Rios of Rios Clementi Hale Studios into a walkable district filled with urbane shops and au courant eateries, along with creative office spaces, galleries and event spaces. “It’s essentially like inheriting an entire neighborhood that you can build and establish from the ground up,” describes Fishbein.

A look at Runyon Group’s client list, which includes Alice & Olivia, NARS Cosmetics and haute home decor designer Tom Dixon, cues the market sensibility of Row, aimed at a creative-identifying populace that craves exclusive goods. To that end, Fishbein points out a key practical benefit of Row. During the last decade, the city’s transformation has resulted in many desirable downtown destinations, from glamorous hotels, retailers and restaurants to star-studded event venues, “but there still wasn’t a place where you could come from Venice or Pasadena or the South Bay and come downtown, park your car once and immerse yourself in a world with all these interesting stores and restaurants and great kind of creative uses.” In other words, no town square.

An Experience Destination

Also, with changing retail habits, notably the continued adoption of shopping online, Fishbein points to a need for Row’s brand of mixed-use, lifestyle destinations. “It’s important creating physical  environments where people want to come and just enjoy themselves.” Shopping might be the reason for visiting, or seeing a show, or trying a new restaurant, Fishbein points out, but in the end: “Experience is really what drives most of what we do.”

The Row experience will be a carefully planned one, complete with cultural and event programming. “We’re really inspired by great design and obviously, being adjacent to the Arts District, art is a big part of the neighborhood and the future of downtown LA.” Programs will be presented across all categories and for all ages, from family events and theater to music and art, all with the goal of creating a day or evening out of coming downtown.

To that end, Smorgasburg will be a good debut for Row. The popular outdoor market, born in Brooklyn, will be coming to Row starting June 19th for its inaugural West Coast debut. The assemblage of 100-plus vendors, about half of them food, will serve as an introduction of the Row site to the city. It’s just an introduction, though, as Runyon Group is, as of the final weeks of May and early June, signing on its first retail, food and beverage tenants, with haute design boutique A + R among them. (Industry Partners is handling creative office tenants.) Fall and the holiday season will see another wave of new tenants, as will spring and summer of 2017. Unlike a traditional shopping mall, which opens at capacity on a given day, Fishbein explains that Row will come into bloom much like a neighborhood does, “building by building, space by space.”


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