Soho Warehouse Forecast To Bring Change To Arts District
A number of high-end retailers, restaurants and prominent companies have moved into downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District in the past few years, and one major tenant is opening in the area this week. Luxe club Soho Warehouse opened for a select group of its members on Sept. 30.
While the Arts District still shows signs of urban blight, the highly anticipated Soho Warehouse is forecasted to attract a number of affluent people to the Arts District to dine, party, attend cultural events and stay at its 48 bedrooms in the seven-story building.
The development includes a gym, a rooftop swimming pool, high-end restaurants and bars, as well as works from Los Angeles–based artists. Housed in a former industrial building that is more than 100 years old, the hotel’s design includes graffiti that was spray-painted on the building’s walls years ago.
Soho Warehouse has sibling clubs in West Hollywood, Calif., and Malibu, Calif. Its parent company, Soho House & Co., runs clubs and hotels across the globe. Sam Stone, group director of membership for Soho House, said the company had wanted to open in downtown Los Angeles for a while.
“Downtown L.A. and the surrounding areas have such an interesting creative community that we’ve wanted to be part of for a long time,” he said. “For us, it’s exciting to open in a place where there’s already a tight-knit community and be part of their journey as it grows, supporting and helping those creatives along the way,”
Soho Warehouse’s address is 1000 S. Santa Fe Ave., and it is located down the street from the well-appointed Warner Music office building. Current and former Arts District retailers consider the debut of Soho Warehouse a milestone for the district that, until a decade ago, was distinguished by its empty warehouses and lofts, which housed working artists.
Former and current Arts District retailers agree that Soho Warehouse is a landmark but also have mixed views on whether it will provide a jolt for retail in the district.
“It’s another win for us,” said Christion Lennon, who runs e-commerce for the brands Brotherhood and Peace & Quiet in the Arts District.
However, growth of luxe boutique retail has been slow. The last major retailer to move into the district was Dover Street Market, which opened in November 2017 in a space that is a short walk from Soho Warehouse. Lennon forecasted that it would be several years before the boutique-retail business would gain momentum in the district.
In addition to Dover Street Market, boutique retailers in the district include a flagship for 3.1 Phillip Lim, which opened in 2017; a Shinola-brand flagship; and multi-brand boutiques Wittmore, Rogue Collective, Commonwealth and Juice.
Guerilla Atelier was a pioneer in Arts District retailing, but it closed in 2017 after construction made it hard to do business on the block, said Carl Louisville, Guerilla Atelier’s founder. Earlier this year, he opened a new concept, Carl’s Atelier, at the Westfield Century City retail center in West Los Angeles.
He said that Soho Warehouse is opening in a place that is way off of the general public’s radar. “I’ve always felt anything past 7th Street was too far for most people to venture,” he said. “Hopefully, Soho Warehouse will provide the anchor to the area, which is desperately needed.”
At the moment, a café and a wine shop are located across the street from Soho Warehouse, and Jay Luchs, a vice chairman for commercial real estate firm Newmark Knight Frank, forecasted that the club could bring more people and businesses to the neighborhood. “It doesn’t stand out. It fits in the Arts District,” Luchs said. “The area has a hip, incredible vibe. The creative community already exists there. Soho Warehouse fits right in.”
He estimated that a square foot of street-level commercial space in the Arts District ranges in price from $4 to $6. There will be increased opportunity for bars, restaurants and hospitality businesses in the Arts District, said Luchs, who is a member of Soho House, but the neighborhood isn’t for everyone. “Traditional retailers wanting to follow the activity should know it’s not a guarantee that they will do as well as they might in West Hollywood or as well as the restaurants in the Arts District,” Luchs said. “Retail, and food and beverage are two different worlds.”
Photos courtesy of Soho Warehouse