Locals of 90028: Rich Llewellyn
May 29, 2015
Here in Hollywood, we talk a lot about the arrival of the millennials, and the culture shift attached thereto. Parking lots will give way to ridesharing and bike racks; corner offices are being replaced with “creative” open work spaces; fresh roasted pour-over coffee is preferred to franchise outlets. True, the desires and demands of the millennial generation are going to have a powerful influence on society, but let’s remember that the cohort inhabited by their parents remains influential and heading toward retirement in the next decade.
After breakfast with Hollywood resident Rich Llewellyn, I was reminded that he (and myself included) represents a demographic that has great potential as a niche market for Hollywood: baby boomers seeking to simplify; who embrace city life.
Several years ago, Rich and his spouse, Chris, specifically went looking for a full service residential building after selling their home in Los Feliz where they raised their family. They chose Hollywood and first moved into the Hollywood & Vine Lofts (in the Equitable Building) for six months before finding a condominium in the W Residences.
Life at Hollywood and Vine is everything they expected. “We have a regular route where we can walk to Trader Joes, Walgreens, the Arclight and the restaurants we like on Vine such as Los Balcones to the south and Cleo to the north,” he said. Heading west to eat, they will go to Loteria or Miceli’s.
“Living adjacent to a hotel has its advantages,” he offered. “It’s convenient to put up friends who come to visit, and we like to eat at Delphine at least once a week.”
His two kids, aged 24, love to housesit when he and Chris take off for the weekend. “My daughter loves to visit the clubs with her friends and my son will see four movies at the Arclight in one weekend.”
Llewellyn is on the Mayor’s staff at City Hall and he will take the subway occasionally, but Chris, who is a lawyer downtown, takes it every day. On the weekend, they use their car to run errands.
When asked what is missing from this neighborhood, Llewellyn offered, “a full service grocery store and better retail.” Women may not find the retail as lacking, but there is a need for men’s stores, such as Nordstrom Rack or an expanded H&M, for example. “The entertainment and restaurants still skew young here,” he added. “There needs to be more attention to what an older clientele would want here in Hollywood.”
And, indeed, the big take-away from this conversation is the market potential inherent in the downsizing boomer generation. “There is a whole group of homeowners in the Hollywood hills who don’t want to end up living in the Wilshire Corridor,” says Llewellyn. This is the group with the disposable income to invest in luxury living and if there are more residential investment options, this will also be a cohort that will bring a sense of stability to the neighborhood.
Kerry Morrison is executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance. She serves as a Mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and blogs at www.onlyinhollywood.org.