Downtown Trader Joe's Watch: It Could Be This Old Jewelry District Building
Back in May, downtown residents were hopeful that they'd finally get the Trader Joe's they'd been pining for in The Bloc, that $160 million renovation of Macy's Plaza. Now, the rumor suggests that Trader Joe's might be moving into the Jewelry District.
The building in question stands at 7th and Olive. The six-story building was built in 1917 and was originally the Villa de Paris department store, DTLA Rising reports. The building is currently known as the LA Jewelry Mart. However, every tenant will vacate by the end of the month and the building is scheduled to undergo some major renovations.
The upper floors will most likely turn into live/work spaces or offices, while the ground floor will, hopefully, become that coveted Trader Joe's. In addition to DTLA Rising's "credible sources," here are their reasons for the speculation: the ground floor of the building is 14,000 square feet, which is roughly the size of your average Trader Joe's. It's also a good location in terms of street traffic, and would be about a block away from the Whole Foods slated for 8th and Grand. One potential issue could be where to put loading operations, though there is an available alleyway off Olive.
Renderings from M2A Architects show potential changes that include basement parking and an additional seventh floor, plus an atrium cutting down the core of the building.
L.A.'s Jewelry District saw several of the stores move in after the 1960s, when gold was in demand for investment purposes. However, the recession in 2008 obviously wasn't super great when it came to the business of luxury goods. At present, the district has thousands of jewelry shops packed into the area—the neighborhood's website claims 3,000—but this is a diminishing number. The Foreman & Clark building on 7th and Hill has eschewed its jewelry tenants and is slated to become a mixed-use building with 165 residential units, two restaurants and bar, Curbed LA reports.
As the neighborhood changes, it would probably be more useful if downtown residents could pick up some groceries near their homes, versus wholesale gold rings. And it would certainly be more useful for downtown to develop affordable grocery stores before gentrification staples like hot yoga studios and mixology bars.