There is no doubt that there is so much change happening in DTLA. You can walk down any street in the city and you will find some type of area with construction. If you have walked down 7th street in the past couple of years, I am sure that you have seen the ongoing construction of the highly anticipated The Bloc. Formerly Macy’s Plaza, this fortress occupies one city block and is opening its space this week to the DTLA community this Thursday, June 16th.
When Macy’s Plaza was built in 1972, it was regarded as an extraordinary achievement. Not only was there an indoor shopping mall (which gained popularity in the 1970’s/1980’s), there was also a lavish hotel and sky rise office building connected to it. Unfortunately, as decades passed, Macy’s Plaza deteriorated into a dark, dingy B-list mall. However, the Ratkovich Company came along in 2013 and bought the entire property for an estimated $241 million dollars.
When the Ratkovich Company bought the property, their intentions were for a complete overhaul of the space at the cost of $160 million dollars. They were going to change the 2.4 million square foot commercial retail, hotel and office space drastically. What was once an indoor shopping mall would now be transformed by revamping existing spaces, adding new spaces, and taking the entire roof off to create an open-air mall that would engage pedestrians and the growing urban community. What was formerly Macy’s Plaza would now be known as simply, The Bloc.
The Bloc was originally scheduled to open at the end of 2015. To anyone keeping their eye on the space, it was evident that that wasn’t going to happen. As the end of 2015 approached, it was obvious to even a layperson that construction was far from being complete. Construction was delayed altogether because certain businesses remained open throughout the construction period. Slowly, there have been transformations, and going forward there will be numerous openings at different times.
This Thursday, June 16th marks a huge event in the history of The Bloc’s redevelopment. The Square at The Bloc is officially opening. This grassy patch area sits at the bottom of The Bloc and is intended to be the open space designated for events. It has recently been furnished with cool, colorful patio furniture from Studio 111. The inaugural event will be a free event called Blues + Bites with a performance by Rumproller Jazz Trio. You are encouraged to BYOW(ine) and picnic. If you aren’t a picnic planner, don’t worry – Richeeze grilled cheese food truck will also be there serving up a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches for purchase and Popdup will also be there to quench your thirst with gourmet non-alcoholic sodas for purchase. Also, we were told that there will be direct access from The Square to a new patio area for District– the new farm to table restaurant located in the Sheraton. You will be able to enjoy a cocktail in their patio and still enjoy what is going on in The Square.
This event is only the beginning of many, many more outdoor art, music and movie events to follow. Clare De Briere The Ratkovich Company’s EVP and COO spoke exclusively with Happening in DTLA and had this to say about The Square:
“We want the people of Downtown L.A. to feel like The Square is their living room. We want this to be a place that the community can enjoy everyday and a place where the community comes to celebrate on holidays like 4th of July and New Years Eve and we also want this to be a place where the community and kindred spirits can come together in solidarity during times that are not so great.”
Clare was also able to share with us that the Metro access tunnel from 7th and Metro that will give riders direct mall access, will be complete as early as October 2016 if construction goes as planned. She told us, “Construction on everything should be complete by end of year. Blues + Bites is the first of many events that are going to take place at The Square and at The Bloc. We intend to throw a huge Bloc Party at the end of this summer.” You heard it here first! Get ready for a huge end of summer celebration!
Some of the businesses that are set to open in the next several months are: Free Market, Brandswalk, PopBar, Starbucks Evenings, and Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas. When you do visit The Bloc, make sure to take a look around and enjoy the projects that are complete like: The Sheraton that has undergone a $40 million dollar face lift and is now a Sheraton Grand and ranked as a 4 Star Hotel. The Macy’s store has also undergone major redevelopment and has garnered a new status as their West Coast Flagship store.
“We are looking to be a part of the community. We want to offer those who work, live and love Downtown L.A. a place to enjoy, shop, soak in some Vitamin D and enjoy events like Blues + Bites and future festivities like Book Signings, Poetry Readings and BBQ Events,” explained Clare De Briere, EVP and COO of the Ratkovich Company. It seems that The Bloc is going to be the new DTLA Hot Spot and we at Happening in DTLA, along with all other Downtowners, couldn’t be more excited to see what the future holds for this revamped space.
Blues + Bites: Thursday, June 16th 2016 from 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
For more information on Blues + Bites and other confirmed events at The Bloc and The Square click here.
The Bloc 700 South Flower Street Los Angeles, California 90017 www.theblocdowntown.com