Another symbol of downtown Los Angeles’ transformation is the ongoing renovation and rebranding of the Spring Arcade Building. Modeled after the great Beaux Arts arcades of Europe, the space has long been a grubby home for non-distinct shops. The Arcade—actually two 12-story towers connected by the skylit, glass roofed, three-level arcade—was built in 1924 by architects Kenneth McDonald and Maurice Couchot. With its Spanish Baroque entryway, it originally contained 61 shops, and later added a Venetian-style bridge across its center. It now contains space for 21 shops and restaurants and still contains the landmark KRKD radio towers on its roof.
Spring Arcade in its heyday (BRC Advisors)
Developers Downtown Properties have cleaned the arcade’s glass roof, which had been opaque with grime, and they’re bringing in notable retail like Guisados tacos (which just opened on Monday), ULI Gelateria, Royal Claytons Pub, and Bier Beisl Austrian foods. Above the arcade, apartments in the structure range from 590–1,600 square feet. The new shops and residents raise the continuing specter of gentrification, particularly with anchors like the Ace Hotel, Urban Outfitters, and Acne nearby. But just walking down the long-neglected, shabby street is evidence that it’s still a little ways off.Spring Arcade exterior today (BringingBackBroadway) Looking inside the Spring Arcade (Sam Lubell/ AN) Spring Arcade exterior detail (Sam Lubell/ AN)