Zara to Open 27,000SF Shop in Downtown LA

Zara, one of fast-fashion’s dominant global brands, announced May 29 that it will open a 27,000-square-foot emporium at the Figat7th retail center in downtown Los Angeles.

The Spanish-headquartered retailer, a division of The Inditex Group, is scheduled to open in Spring 2014 and will have neighbors such as City Target, which opened in October 2012, and Sports Chalet, scheduled to open this summer. The trio of stores will reportedly hold the distinction of being the individual retailers presiding over the biggest-square-footage stores in downtown Los Angeles. Zara signed a 10-year lease for its Figat7th space, according to the retail center’s landlords and developers, Brookfield Office Properties. Brookfield renovated the 330,000-square-foot retail center for $40 million in 2012.

The downtown Los Angeles Zara will employ 60 people and was attracted to the neighborhood for its demographic mix of urban professionals, college students, and retail traffic from Los Angeles Convention Center and tourists at Staples Center and LA Live. Both venues are a less than 10-minute walk from the retail center, located at the intersection of Figueroa and Seventh streets.

Zara runs 10 stores in California, and the upcoming downtown Los Angeles store will be among its biggest footprints.

The Zara announcement is among the latest in a list of prominent companies that committed to opening stores in downtown Los Angeles. Other major store announcements include new locations from Urban Outfitters and Acne Studios, maker of Acne Jeans. The wave of retail announcements follows a more than 20-year dry spell for specialty retail in downtown, said Carol Schatz, president and chief executive officer of the Central City Association, which lobbies on behalf of Los Angeles businesses.

“It was in the last 24 months that we’ve seen this huge sea change in terms of dry-goods retailing,” Schatz said. “It is something we couldn’t have anticipated five years ago.”

The new retail follows a population growth in downtown Los Angeles, Schatz said. In 1999, there were 18,000 residents in downtown. Currently, there are 50,000 residents in downtown LA. “It is at a critical mass, and we’re on our way.”