Storefront Report: Silver Lake retail shake up in the works


SILVER LAKE —  Stores are coming and going on a two-block stretch of Sunset Boulevard near Maltman Avenue, with long-time tenants having moved or preparing to move while there is talk of a French retailer eyeing one of the spaces.

Living Room owner Steve Melendrez said he’s looking for a new home for his furniture store in the face of a rent increase. Melendrez said the landlord lowered his rent a few years ago when the recession hit but is now seeking a higher rate and new tenants for the 4,400-building.  The LoopNet listing  says the leasing rate is “negotiable” but Melendrez understands that the landlord will be asking between $4 and $5 a square foot.  Those rates are “too high for most independent businesses in my my opinion,” Melendrez said. “Look for another coffee company, restaurant, or high end clothing boutique. ”  

“Our landlord has been very good to us,” added  Melendrez, who is looking to move his store to Venice.  “I don’t blame him for trying to cash in.”

Meanwhile, immediately east of the Living Room, an entire building that once housed several shops, including Dustmuffin boutique, which moved to a new home, is vacant and up for lease, according to LoopNet. The owners want $4.50 a square foot for space in the 5,600 square-foot building, but, according to nearby business owners, this is the place where A.P.C., a French apparel and accessories chain, is looking to set up a shop.  A.P.C. has reportedly been looking to open a store in Silver Lake and Downtown but it could not be confirmed whether the firm has agreed to lease or is looking at this Sunset Boulevard building.

Meanwhile, a block away on Polka Dot Plaza, the former Fandango Salon, which moved  west on Sunset Boulevard,  is now seeking retail tenants who can pay more than $4,600 a month to occupy the turquoise-colored building, according to LoopNet.


  1. Another Small Business Owner

    It’s really depressing to see so many landlords pushing out small businesses with outrageous rent. If the expectation is that big businesses will bring their stores to Silver Lake and Echo Park it seems like a lot of what makes this area interesting and appealing is going to disappear. Greedy. What a shame.

    • Its interesting to see the gentrified establishments get gentrified out. What will this do to the tiresome eastsider debates about that fact that neighborhoods change over time.

  2. For the one that used to house Dustmuffin, I assumed they already had a tenant in mind, since they’ve branded the building as The Corner. I assumed they were trying to do something like what’s going on at Sunset Junction (Intelligentsia, Stella, etc.) or at Vintage Vortex. But apparently not.

  3. Who authors these posts and begins two consecutive paragraphs with “meanwhile?” Yikes.

  4. Silver Lake, R.I.P.

  5. lagartija manos

    APC sells chinese made clothes with prices that are made in france,
    but i guess thats what fits in with the neighborhood now.
    I bet some sort of “surfing” themed chain store is next and then a Unami burger.

    See a pattern here?

    Will you support it?

    Your dollar is your vote

    If you don’t like exploited labor chain stores don’t shop there. Simple

    • Unami has been on Hollywood Bl in Los Feliz for years so I don’t think of it as an invader or exploited labor chain stroe.

  6. Silver Lake is headed the route of Melrose. Landlords overvaluing their real estate, pricing out businesses to try and cash in. Businesses wanting to be in “hip” area and willing to pay top dollar, only to be out of biz 6 months later and landlords unwilling to lower their prices so blocks of storefronts go empty in Silver Lake for the next 2-3 years.

  7. I always chuckled to myself while stopped at that intersection at the irony of the business name “The Living Room” in the building that, I believe, was originally an abortion clinic

  8. A.P.C. is very very chic. It in fact epitomizes chic. My first response is only “wow,” Silver Lake really is coming up in the world and I couldn’t be more excited. It was only a couple of years ago that there was outrage over talk of a Chipotle locating in the neighborhood. I can understand people being concerned over that, but A.P.C. will be a real and appreciated amenity and seems a perfect fit.

    • lagartija manos

      APC is chic, wow do you know your french!
      APC is the same as the GAP
      Chic at the expense of exploited chinese labor

      Like Wow! Tres Chic!!!

    • Wow are you ever deluded. This is not something the community would want or support.

      • A.P.C. is affordable and stylish and I think you might be surprised to know how many men, women, AND children in the neighborhood wear A.P.C……..and up to now have had to drive to Melrose, order online, or make purchases while traveling to NYC or abroad. Now they will be able to shop for A.P.C. locally. How again is that a bad thing?

  9. All of this is very disheartening, but I must say that it could have been held off and/or avoided if more people were actually spending money at these small businesses. Talk of not spending your dollars with the big businesses trying to come in is very noble, but perhaps you should have been shopping at the small ones to begin with? (Don’t get defensive, keep reading). Your appreciation of the independent and unique businesses that make Silver Lake special doesn’t pay the bills. Spending your money does. I had my store in the space that Dustmuffin now occupies for almost 9 years. I moved at the end of March to Los Feliz out of necessity. I’m spending much more on rent, but guess what? It all evens out if people are shopping! Making a stink doesn’t do much if you’re not supporting the community financially. Not to say that people don’t support the businesses, but spending habits have changed since the recession hit and it’s taken a toll. I have loyal, wonderful customers who’ve kept me around. With the recession, many couldn’t shop or adjusted their habits as a precaution. That precautionary behavior is still here, even with those whose income has stabilized and no longer at risk. You have to ask yourself, “How much did I spend in my community before the recession?” And if you’ve survived it, “Am I spending again the way I once did or am I still holding on to my extra dollars out of habit?” If you have a small business, you know what I’m talking about and know this phenomenon to be true. If Steve Melendrez of the Living Room was getting the business now that he got back in the day, he wouldn’t be going anywhere, rent increase or not. It’s very simple. If you want the businesses you appreciate to stick around, support them. If you don’t have the money, than write reviews for these businesses that will help them bring in customers who can spend. Tell people about these businesses who might not know about them. Be pissed, that’s fine. I am.. but it won’t do a thing for your neighborhood if the money isn’t coming in. Rent increases are only part of the problem folks. Thriving businesses are what’s needed here. If you shop online, perhaps stick to the sites of stores you appreciate and leave Amazon to the people who don’t get it? Maybe you’ll have to pay a bit more, but if you really want to preserve your community…. If you aren’t making a conscious effort to support these businesses, then you’re giving the go ahead for these big businesses to do what ever the hell they want. This is happening because the small businesses don’t have the sales coming in that they need to fight it.

    • All great points. My wife and I shop locally (and have blown more than our fair share of cash at local restaurants as well). But one issue, in my option, that restricts businesses on Sunset in Silver Lake is that it’s still pretty crappy for large stretches. Those auto body shops north of Descanso aren’t doing anything for the community. And the SLNC craps on anything that might bring density and walkability to the neighborhood – why?

      Big chunks of Sunset still look like outtakes from 1970’s-era Rockford Files. Meanwhile, DTLA and big chunks of Hollywood are getting the Mixed-User treatment – creating density, walkability and lots of retail.

      I understand the need/desire to keep chain stores out. But honestly, I’d rather have a Chipotle any day than that fucking $1 Car Wash on Descanso, Or the forever boarded-up Bates Motel up near Sunset and Fountain.

      The SLNC is stuck in some sort of time-warp. They scare off developers, take forever to grant liquor licenses to restaurants, etc. It’s a shame. They’re not helping the community. They’re strangling it.

      Local retailers need to get together, foment a master plan for the neighborhood: plant more trees, get the sidewalks widened, etc. Then retail will thrive.

      • Grant, I agree with you that beautification would be very helpful. There’s lots of nice little pockets, with crap in between, so much so that if you’re in one pocket, you can’t tell that there’s another pocket down the way.

      • Grant. The neighborhood councils throughout the city have no authority at all. They are strictly advisory. They cannot block any development nor can they grant any kind of license. They are an open public forum. Get involved and find that your views can be heard and contribute to the community

      • Grant–You need to come to the SLNC meetings especially the Urban Planning meeting every 2nd Wed of the month and voice this. The very few that do voice these sentiments can’t do it alone. The new pizza place Wood and also Pine and Crane were both denied liquor licenses because of one former SLNC Board member. Stop posting and start coming to the meetings!

    • Yes shop locally, to have a thriving community you have to support local shops! Having said that and having owned a shop for six years in Sunset Junction landlords cashing in IS the biggest problem. Outside of a restaurant there are very few businesses that could survive these rents. Landlords are perfectly willing to sell the trendiness to a stream of revolving businesses doomed to fail.

    • Alisa Steen Melendrez

      Word Sumi!!!

  10. Landlords… can’t live with ’em,.. can’t live without ’em!

    (Actually we could probably live without them just fine)

    • white echo parker

      I am proud to be a landlord. I provide a service to my tenants in exchange for payment. This is strikingly similar to what anyone who owns a business or has a job for that matter does; services exchanged for payment. I am a little surprised to see how quickly landlords get blamed for changing market conditions. When market rents in an area go up, we are called “greedy” but no one considers that market rents go down too. What would you call us when we have to drop rents because that is what the market dictates? “Generous” landlords?

      This is a business that has a tremendous amount of risk associated with it and requires a nimble attitude toward changing market conditions.

      One question for all you landlord haters. If your boss came to you with an offer to pay you more for the same service you are providing, wouldn’t you take it? Now try and remember that next time you are blaming the world’s problems on us landlords. Thank you.

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