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Monday, September 26, 2016

Derby Dolls skate past developers

Proposed shopping center at Temple and Bonnie Brae streets/NAI Capital.

Photo by Kyle L./Flickr

It looked the L.A. Derby Dolls, the women’s roller skating team, would have to look for a new home in late 2008 after the owners of its Historic Filipinotown headquarters and track won city approval to build four apartment towers rising as high as nine floors above Temple Street.  But that residential project went no where as the economy tanked and financing came harder to come by. Now, the property owners are trying a different track: retail.  The most recent proposal calls for transforming the 50,000-square-foot building now called The Doll Factory (it houses the Derby Doll’s track and offices) into a neighborhood shopping center with more than 1oo parking spaces.  “What I would like to see there is a grocery store,” said leasing agent Mark Ranftle with NAI Capital.

Ranftle notes that the densely populated Historic Filipinotown, which overlaps with the southern edge of Echo Park, lacks a large, modern supermarket.  But apparently the Derby Dolls, which could not be reached for comment, don’t need to rush to look for a new home.  So far there have been no takers to fill the proposed shopping center at Temple and Bonnie Brae streets, Ranftle said.

“This is all kind of tied to the economy,” Ranftle said. “People in retail in general are being very cautious. A lot of retailers are saying ‘We are just going to wait.'”



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  1. I’ll be the first to say it: Trader Joe’s, anyone?

  2. Everyone knows Filipinos do their grocery shopping at Costco.

  3. This design is too suburban… the parking lot should be in the rear, and store entrance built to the curb, to activate the street and encourage walking and biking.

  4. I agree Corner soul! How about a bike corral in the front too? And trees!

  5. … but also a new Doll Factory on top. 🙂

  6. I saw a sign that said that its going to be Whole Foods.

    Sorry that was at the old Circuit City property.

  7. I agree with Mr. Rollers – Trader Joe’s

  8. That looks like a nice development, very sharp. It looks normal, which is pretty much what the neighborhood needs. I too hope that a mainstream grocery store will go there, and maybe also an Olive Garden restaurant. Things could be looking up.

  9. I think it would be a travesty to lose the Derby Dolls in this area. They are a wonderful operation, and quite community oriented.

  10. I drive down Temple every day on the way to work, and while I’m sure local residents would appreciate an amenity like this, I have a hard time believing that a mainstream chain would invest in this area. Nothing against the neighborhood, but in this economy and when Echo Park can’t even get a TJ’s, and SL can’t get a Whole Foods….?

  11. I work just down the street from that corner, and I’d love to see a Trader Joe’s in that spot, but I second Lauren’s comment; there’s no possible way that area will meet Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods’ criteria. Incidentally, what’s going on with the empty lot just a few blocks west of Bonnie Brae, on the same side of Temple? It’s just an open pit now with rebar-laden concrete pillars poking out of the ground.

  12. @ James

    The last I read that empty lot with the open pit was being touted as a mixed-use area for local hipster losers to both leap in to and park their fixies in.

  13. This is never going to happen. There’s already a ton of vacant property in this area that could be leased if any of these kinds of businesses were interested in leasing here, and they’re not (yet). In fact, there’s already a strip mall DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET that I believe still has a handful of available units. Also, Rantfle’s comments belie his lack of familiarity with the neighborhood; we may be lacking a “modern” supermarket, but there’s both a Smart & Final on Beverly and a Liborio on 3rd that would qualify as “large.”

    As James alludes to, we’d be much better off seeing something done with the open pit at Temple and Union.

  14. The design of the shopping center is a hideous, typical suburban design that is not appropriate for an urban neighborhood. How about placing most, if not all, of the parking behind or to the side of the store so that the sidewalk is activated and people are encouraged to walk/bike to the store. Look at the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s as an example. There is already a lot of pedestrian activity in the area and instead of encouraging more this center would create a sea of parking in front of a boring box. Try harder.

  15. @DJ Bento,

    What’s the difference between “local hipster losers” and just a ‘hipster’? or are they all ‘losers’?

    Since you’re the ‘hipster’ EXPERT around here (you by far have the most ‘hipster’ word counts per post, period!), please define what a ‘hipster’ is?? You NEVER answer, why? ‘cos your afraid of having to answer!?!?!

    Perhaps trying to answer that would paint you as even more of an idjit? That must be why. You’ve never answered this simple question the multiple times I’ve directly asked you on this blog.

  16. haha @fleaman… get ‘im!

  17. @ johan: holy god i hope you’re joking.

  18. I wish this never happens. I love the Doll Factory.. </3

  19. @josh -I hope Johan is joking as well. An Olive Garden would be a good joke for those awaiting apt complexes or trendy supermarkets. Despite an establishment like that sticking out like a sore thumb in this ethnic/hipster town , it would be out of business in a month. I’ve never been to see the Derby Dolls but I hope I get to before any changes are made.

  20. the development site at temple and union was bought bought by Advanced Development and Investment from a private investment group that acquired the note.
    ADI has now gone bust and filed BK, the site has been up for a sale for a whileee but is way over priced.
    The Temple corridor really needs some new high quality market rate housing options. The only way to get new tenants in that area is to have new market rate stuff, enough with the affordable housing in that area. The affordable housing needs to be better spread throughout that area instead of being concentrated over there.
    Anyone heard of any new residential projects coming along on the temple corridor?

  21. i definitely have to agree with “Joe”

    we need new better market rate housing to get some legit retail tenants in that area. big name brands can’t survive with “affordable housing” residents

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