Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Broadway musical chairs

Every Saturday the Los Angeles Conservancy has a walking tour of the historic movie theaters on Broadway. A few Saturdays ago I overheard a walking tour docent pass on one of Downtown's urban myths to his group. "Broadway has the highest rents anywhere in Los Angeles, even higher than Beverly Hills."

That might've been true 20 years ago when Broadway had the foot traffic to support high rents, but the shoppers have moved on to places like Santee Alley and other cities like Huntington Park. Sure, Broadway is shaping up for another renaissance with new restaurants, restored theater venues,  rehabilitated commercial and residential space, and possibly a streetcar in the future, but these tour groups need to be honest about the current lease rates and the transitional state of the retail base.

With all the changes, I find it interesting that some of the mom and pop shops on Broadway often hop from one location to another. They're either playing one landlord off of another for a better deal, downsizing to a floor area that better matches their sales, or getting pushed aside for the Next Big Thing.

For instance, the Luxury Perfumes shop leapfrogged from their old suite over Baraton to the subdivided former location of Shoe Hot. I don't know when they started leasing their previous spot, but this post includes a photo of the night they installed their sign in June 2010.

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