One of Echo Park’s last remaining, free-standing video stores – 50/50 Video – closed up shop last week, leaving a large, 2,400-square-foot vacant storefront in the heart of the neighborhood’s Sunset Boulevard shopping district. But the space may not remain empty for long. Landlord Vladimir Delis said one of his other tenants, Rodeo Mexican Grill, which is located next door, has the first option to expand into the now vacant video store. If not Rodeo does not act on the option, the space goes on the market.
It’s not exactly clear why 50/50 Video closed after 16 years in business. But Delis said his tenant, who had a few years remaining on their lease, faced the same pressures that much larger retailers, such as Blockbuster, faced as customers ordered DVDs via Netflix or watched movies online and other programs online. “Technology chewed them up,” said Delis of 50/50.
Delis, who has bought and sold buildings on the 1700 block of Sunset Boulevard since the mid 1990s, said he has watched Echo Park’s commercial center change over the years as new tenants have moved in, storefronts have filled up and crime has gone down. When he purchased his Sunset Boulevard storefronts, Delis said the buildings had been vacant for some time and he was eager to find tenants, renting out the spaces for as little as $1 a square foot. Asking rents at some nearby buildings are now nearly twice that amount.