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.'”