The Ratkovich Company, with partners National Real Estate Advisors (“National”) and Blue Vista Capital, today announced the start of roof removal at The Bloc, one of the most significant and visible changes to the property as the company reinvents the once enclosed brick structure into a modern, open-air urban destination. Continuing a tide of high leasing activity to fill The Bloc, The Ratkovich Company has also secured a slate of more than two dozen new office and retail tenants – serving as the most demonstrative signal of the property’s transformation into a premier urban destination in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles.
Roof Removal and Direct Metro Connection
Over the course of three weeks, construction crews will remove sections of the roof – revealing the heart of what will become a vibrant, open-air urban square upon project completion in late 2015.
This radical above-ground change will be mirrored by transformative underground construction to create a pedestrian passageway linking The Bloc to the 7th Street/Metro Center Station – by far the city’s busiest transit station. Construction on the Metro connection is expected to begin in June, with completion estimated in December, providing a convenient and direct link between The Bloc and most of greater Los Angeles, including Santa Monica and the West Side.
“With this next phase of construction, we’re not only ushering in a new wave of physical and cultural change at The Bloc, but also within the larger urban fabric of the vibrant downtown community,” said Wayne Ratkovich, president and CEO of The Ratkovich Company. “We’re thrilled to be moving into the final phase of renovation at The Bloc and can’t wait to welcome Los Angeles back to a completely new environment and experience.”
Once roof removal and metro connection installation have been completed, the construction process will move into a final phase to put the finishing touches on the property before The Bloc’s grand reveal in late 2015.
Craft Food Experiences Highlight Retail Tenants On Tap at The Bloc
Eight new design-oriented, artisanal retailers and restaurateurs will help to color the palette of The Bloc with their debuts later this year, part of a slate of retail tenants which account for a total retail footprint of more than 442,000 sq. ft.
Chef/Restaurateur Steve DiFillippo is bringing his award-winning Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse concept from Boston’s Back Bay to The Bloc. Specializing in regional Italian cuisine ranging from aged Brandt beef steaks, fresh seafood and handmade pasta creations with a focus on hospitality, Davio’s will open its first West Coast outpost with 10,000 sq. ft. in the heart of downtown Los Angeles at The Bloc.
“Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of sharing our dining room with thousands of guests” said DiFillippo. “We look forward to marrying the tradition of the Davio’s name with the distinctive palettes of our new friends in the City of Angels to create a uniquely downtown experience. At Davio’s, it’s all about the guest.”
Further complementing the burgeoning culinary scene in Downtown are a collection of additional artisanal hot spots coming to the table at The Bloc including:
– TLT Food – Famous food truck turned fast casual eatery, specializing in New American cuisine without boundaries.
– Popbar – Offering handcrafted, customizable gelato on a stick made with all natural ingredients
– N’ice Cream – Known for freshly-made organic gelato and sorbet to open organic soft-serve gelato and handcrafted toppings concept
– Starbucks – Featuring a new 24 hour, full service concept
These merchants join previously announced tenants embodying the Bloc’s vision for a uniquely immersive shopping experience:
– Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – A unique combination of theater and restaurant showing first-run and independent films and special programming events
– Wingtip – A one-stop shop for the modern gentleman
– Free Market – A marketplace and hub for cultural exchange that will live and breathe, grow and evolve on a seasonal basis
New additions will share space with familiar names who are remaining to serve loyal DTLA customers and visitors but radically updating and re-inventing their stores, including:
– Macy’s – Currently undergoing a transformation to become a Flagship location with new brands, new technology, and upscale assortments
– LA Fitness – A completely new, three level fitness center featuring over 30,100 square feet of state of the art equipment, free weights, group fitness classes and a new lap swimming pool.
– Eyes on the Bloc – Dr. Garry Regier –Optometry and distinctive eyewear
– Mr. G for Toys – Assorted toys and fun gifts for kids and parents
– GNC – Specialty health, wellness and performance retailer
– Robeks and its sister concept DRNK coffee + tea – An edgy new concept bringing a vibrant swagger to the coffee segment, offering a variety of premium, organic coffees and teas served to perfection.
– Jewelry Pavilion – Specialized in fine jewelry and diamonds, including Hermes, Tag Heuer, Gucci, Mont Blanc, and more
Creative-Leaning Office Building Draws Twelve Corporate Outposts
Spanning the retail, creative, real estate, engineering, architecture and legal industries, 12 new office tenants, accounting for more than 127,000 sq. ft., have moved to The Bloc’s state of the art, creative-leaning office building.
Nordstromrack.com | HauteLook will move their headquarters to a new space at The Bloc, with 300 of the Nordstrom division’s 1,200 employees occupying 44,000 sq. ft. in two connected floors of the office tower.
“When HauteLook was founded in 2007, we were based in Downtown Los Angeles to be near the fashion district,” said Terry Boyle, President of Nordstromrack.com | HauteLook. “As we have grown, become part of Nordstrom and launched Nordstromrack.com, we have watched the positive changes in the area and have seen more than ever what it offers our employees. We are excited to be renewing our commitment to the Downtown community with our inspiring new offices at The Bloc.”
A staple of the downtown area, international communications firm Golin will occupy an entire floor across 24,000 sq. ft. of office space at The Bloc.
Internationally renowned real estate franchise Keller Williams has come home to The Bloc. With 120,000 Keller Williams Agents worldwide; “Keller Williams Downtown LA” is focused to globally connect Commercial and Residential buyers and sellers. Other real estate organizations at The Bloc include:
– BRC Advisors – A full service commercial real estate company
– Rosano Partners – A full-service commercial real estate firm
– BOMAGLA – A local organization for building owners, managers, and developers
– Urban Land Institute – An international organization representing the entire spectrum of land use and real estate development disciplines with the mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land
Additional tenants include:
– Blend – Firm specializing in creating content and building technology for premium brands
– Levin & Associates – An architecture firm
– VeriClaim – A claims management firm
– Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering – An engineering firm
– Los Angeles Immigration Attorneys – A law firm
Acquired by National, Blue Vista and The Ratkovich Company in May 2013, The Bloc is central to the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles and the historic 7th Street retail corridor. It is undergoing $180 million in renovations to become a gathering place for Angelenos and visitors alike to work, sleep, shop and eat in a vibrant, open-air, pedestrian-friendly, urban destination.
About The Bloc
A landmark property at the heart of downtown Los Angeles, upon completion, The Bloc will bring Angelenos together in a vibrant, open-air, truly urban center. Acquired by The Ratkovich Company with partners National Real Estate Advisors, National Real Estate Development and Blue Vista Capital in June 2013, The Bloc inhabits a full city block and is undergoing $180 million in renovations to provide a curated experience of unique boutiques, premier retailers and restaurants. Originally built in 1973 by architect Charles Luckman, the development will be the single largest mixed-use property in Los Angeles where consumers can work, sleep, shop and eat. It is anchored by Macy’s, the Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel, and a 708,000 square foot luxury office tower. The Bloc will be LEED certified and will be the first full city block designated as a Delos WELL Building Project in the world. Construction began in the first quarter of 2014 and is anticipated to be completed in late 2015. For more information, please visit www.theblocla.com or follow us at https://twitter.com/TheBlocLA.
About The Ratkovich Company
The Ratkovich Company is a Los Angeles development company that engages in both new development and the imaginative reuse of existing buildings. The company has completed, or has under development, nearly 18 million square feet of commercial space in Los Angeles County, including The Bloc, a 1.8 million square foot, mixed-use property at the heart of downtown Los Angeles that will become the premier urban retail, office and hospitality destination. The company has also redeveloped The Alhambra, a 45-acre mixed-use urban community in the city of Alhambra, and The Hercules Campus at Playa Vista, a landmark property comprised of 11 historic buildings, including the hangar where Howard Hughes’ legendary Spruce Goose was built. The Hercules Campus is home to Google/YouTube, Konami and 72andSunny. The Ratkovich Company has won numerous awards for its restoration of Los Angeles landmarks, including the art deco Wiltern Theatre and adjacent Pellissier building; the iconic 31-story 5900 Wilshire in Miracle Mile; the Chapman Market and the city of Glendale’s Alex Theatre. The James Oviatt and Fine Arts buildings were also both awarded national landmark status after successful renovations by The Ratkovich Company. For more information, visit http://www.ratkovich.com.
About National Real Estate Advisors
National Real Estate Advisors has $2.4 billion in net assets under management invested in commercial and multifamily real estate valued at $7.4 billion (as of 12/31/14).Through its open-end fund and separate account for pension fund clients, the company invests in major U.S. urban markets, using a build-to-core strategy in large-scale development and redevelopment projects. National builds investment portfolios of stabilized modern property assets—apartment, office, mixed-use, industrial, data centers and hotels—with design features, technological enhancements, and amenities that can drive high tenant demand and create value over time. The firm is a subsidiary of the National Electrical Benefit Fund. For more information visit, www.natadvisors.com.
About Blue Vista
Blue Vista Capital Management, LLC, founded in 2002 and headquartered in Chicago, has raised in excess of $1.1 billion of institutional equity, and currently manages four closed-end funds, two separate accounts and one joint venture relationship with approximately $5.25 billion of assets under management. The firm’s clients include institutional investors, pension plans, insurance companies, the world’s largest university endowment and select family offices and high net worth investors. For more information on the firm, please visit www.bluevistallc.com.