After spending a few years helping to get The Last Bookstore through its multiple expansions, and then, following that – spending full time getting my novel The Long Rider, two scripts, my memoirs, ‘The Cowboy Years; a Memoir of Lives Too Short’ and my big book on past, present and future of Downtown Los Angeles (all of which ties back to LA’s fifty plus years of being a pioneering frontier town) at last back on their individual tracks, I’m finally again ready to start spending a few hours every day, getting back into the mix of things in DTLA.
And during my again resumed daily walks, I’ve run into a few stories which haven’t yet – for one reason or another – found their way into the media mix. So – from time to time - will post a handful of items – simply to call attention to their existence - and then step back to allow everyone else who tackles such topics – to give them a full treatment.
First, regarding the robot invasion I had some fun with in a post a few days ago; it is a small part of a much larger development story and, even though some of my sources on this overall story are second or third hand – they were each talking with different people handing different aspects of the project and all the information which I have been separately given confirms everything else I have been told.
The center of the story is the two story solid concrete parking structure on the southeast corner of 4th and Broadway which had all of its parking closed quite a few months ago. Most of the stores then closed – and moved – and the remaining stores slowly moved out – one by one - until there were… just two… jewelry stores left
Now while all this was happening, a few of local pundits felt – or heard – the project was postponed – or canceled. But everything I had been watching happening made it clear to me, at least – that only the reason things could be happening in the exact way they had been happening was if the project had to wait until the last tenant was gone before construction could start. Nothing else made any possible sense. Then some days ago – one of the last two stores moved – and then closed. And that then left only… one. And, finally, by the end of last Friday’s business day – there were… none.
Now to back up a bit. The first project for this site was announced back in early 2013 by pioneering Historic Downtown developer Izek Shomof. At the time he was planning to build 22 story residential high rise and he stated he had paid north of ten million for the site. The following year Izek redesigned the project and it was now going to be a 34 story 450,000-foot-high rise with 750 condos, 750 parking spaces and 7,000 feet of retail.
But the starting date came and went – which is not at all uncommon. And then I heard a rumor through the grapevine; a rumor that a major Chinese developers had made Izek an offer that absolutely no one could refuse. And when I called up Izek – he conformed he had not refused it. But for almost a year, it was still listed everywhere as one of his projects and that’s when I started to read that the project had been delayed or canceled.
Then – around a month or so ago – the controversial fire damaged buildings across the street from this project – located on the northeast corner of 4th and Broadway – suddenly seemed to have people inspecting the site. And a couple inquiries disclosed a buyer had unexpectedly surface; a buyer who was already very close to making a deal. And knowing the history of the owner of the site – and having once tried to make a deal with him on another project – I knew any deal would have to be at a price that absolutely no one could possibly resist.
And the next day – I heard he hadn’t.
Not long after that, a clean-up crew showed up and considerably improved the look of the fire ruined buildings. And by the time they were finished, they looked a hell of a lot better. And then there was another new rumor. The new owners of the property – were the owners of the building site across the street! They were going to build another tower on that corner – and then connect the two towers with a sky-bridge.
And that brings us up to last Friday and the closing of the last jewelry store in the parking garage. So I finally asked the store’s owner if I had been right – and if the developers had been waiting for him to leave before they could start construction. And he confirmed I had guessed right.
And that’s when I heard all about the about the coming attack of the robots.
Since solid concrete is very hard to disassemble – dynamite and wresting cranes are two of the more often used methods when the adjoining building is not residential – the developers decided to instead import an army of robots to tear down the building,
And that’s where things stand at the moment. But more later…