image Architecture & Planning

Reclaiming our Nighttime Economy

By Joseph Mariani

October 10, 2014

It’s no secret to anyone who has been in Hollywood, or who has been reading our blogs, that Hollywood is transforming.  The once tourist central/nightclub hub, is quickly becoming a world class neighborhood.  Since the year 2000 Hollywood has experienced a residential building boom.  By next year Hollywood will have approximately 5,100 residential units within the boundaries of our two Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).  Conservative estimates tell us that means more than 7,650 people will be living within our districts, with another 5,000 additional residents to come as more than 3,000 new units are slated to be built in the area over the next five years.  Like many downtowns across the country Hollywood is not unique in this transformation.

As the economy begins to improve across the state, elsewhere, neighborhoods such as Downtown Los Angeles, Pasadena, Silver Lake and others are beginning to embrace their denizens and the resurging office market.  This embrace has often at times been a welcome push by which balance is restored to areas in terms of retail and neighborhood uses that are provided. Creative shops, top restaurants, and live performance venues are beginning to fill once vacant or underutilized locations.  Communities are beginning to embrace trends instead of the fads, and Hollywood is now following suit.

Once a mecca for nighttime activity, Hollywood is beginning to trade in its velvet ropes for outdoor dining, rooftop dog parks, and other residential essentials. As more residents, and employees, make their way to Hollywood the demand for neighborhood serving uses has risen, helping to balance out the nightclub to restaurant ratio.  While nightclubs have served a purpose in helping to establish the resurgence of Hollywood, last year’s over-saturation passed the tipping point as violent crimes and occurrences associated with late night activity rose, and property owners were often faced with tough decisions to close down their once profitable tenants.  Facing a decision to try and fill their former nightclub space by re-creating the old or thinking outside the box, many owners are opting for the later.

A great example of this is the former ‘Wonderland’ nightclub space on Cahuenga.  Once a busy nightclub, the space never garnered a better than two-star ‘Yelp’ review.  Following its closing, the property now hosts Madera Kitchen and Bar, one of Hollywood’s popular eateries – and currently a four-star restaurant on ‘Yelp.’ The more than doubling in review rating goes well beyond just the use, and can more be attributed to the fact that restaurant is fulfilling a need in the eyes of a growing neighborhood of locals and employees who want to have quality dining and entertainment options.  That being said, it’s not to say that all nightclubs are bad.  Within every community, or neighborhood, a necessary variety of options is needed.

However, the move to put in neighborhood serving uses has been one that seems to be in line with the growing trend across the country in more and more downtowns.  By providing educational materials related to trends observed within the BIDs, as well as researching uses that could potentially benefit the community, the HPOA board hopes to further engage with stakeholders in productive conversations that continue to move Hollywood in the right direction.  With Hollywood continuing to progress as a neighborhood, the demand for more “neighborhood-like” establishments and the push from entrepreneurial and expansion locations wanting to enter Hollywood, should give way to the perfect mix of quality dining and entertainment in the heart of the BID.

This blog is part of a series entitled “Exploring the Micro-Neighborhoods and Macro Trends” which stems from the presentation given by HPOA staff at the 2014 All Property Owners Meeting.  For the complete series, click here.

A member of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance staff since 2007, Joseph Mariani has enjoyed seeing the continued positive growth in Hollywood. Serving as the BID’s Director of Strategic Initiatives and Business Development Mariani works closely with property owners, the retail and investment community, commercial real estate brokers and the city’s economic development team to implement the BID’s strategic marketing and communications blueprint.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Riverside and completed his MBA at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business.  Mariani is an avid sports fan, loves spending time with his amazing wife, and enjoys volunteering at the Oasis of Hollywood. Check out the latest Hollywood happenings @GoodNewsJoe

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