The direction of the Row DTLA redevelopment project has begun to take shape with the Brooklyn, N.Y., food-flea market hybrid Smorgasburg set to land June 19.
The mixed-use Row project aims to breathe new life into a six-building, two-million-square-foot portfolio in downtown Los Angeles acquired by New York-based real estate investment firm Atlas Capital Group and Square Mile Capital Management in 2014. The two paid a reported $357 million for the deal that includes the headquarters of American Apparel, Splendid and Ella Moss.
“[The Row’s] really exciting in that it’s not just a project in downtown,” Joseph Miller, who founded brokerage and development firm Runyon Group, told WWD late last year. “It’s a series of buildings in a neighborhood that could really define downtown just given the scale.
Runyon Group, which developed the Platform project in Culver City, Calif. and has served as broker to companies such as Reformation and Rag & Bone, is handling the Row’s retail leasing.
Smorgasburg is the first major announcement on the progress of the project, which marketing materials say will see a summer 2016 opening. The company has yet to announce additional tenants and is expected this evening to hold an introductory meeting aimed at introducing the project to the community and announcing the upcoming Smorgasburg as its first tenant along with an artist-in-resident series being developed. Other retail tenants have yet to be announced with marketing materials characterizing additional retail as “progressive luxury.” Pop-ups are expected around the holiday.
Smorgasburg’s market will total as many as 80 vendors selling their goods every Sunday at the site of the Alameda Produce Market, which runs Monday through Saturday.
If it’s as successful as its predecessors, in New York and sister Brooklyn Flea markets, of which the Smorgasburg concept is a spin-off, it could serve as a significant shot in the arm for downtown which has slowly begun to see a shift in its landscape with more residents, eateries and now retailers.
The Brooklyn Flea sees anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 visitors per day, with Smorgasburg drawing some 10,000 people each day of the market, according Eric Demby, who founded the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg with Jonathan Butler.
A list of more than 20 confirmed vendors includes Blossom Vintage and Coast to Coast Mobile Vintage for clothing. There’s Big Daddy’s Antiques, California Modern Woodworks, Feed Your Darlings and Papushka Vintage in the way of home goods and furniture. Other vendors include Goldenwest Goods, The Radder, Nikki Montoya Jewelry, Pauline Wolstencroft and Capricorn Press.
Who makes it into the market is “totally arbitrary and subjective,” said Demby. “We don’t need to know your name. You don’t need to be selling at the coolest stores. We like people who are at the start of their careers.”
To mark itself distinct from other craft, fleas and food markets in the Southern California region — aside from the mammoth, 5,000-space parking garage — is the fact that Smorgasburg combines facets of all those other markets and occurs on a weekly basis, Demby said.
“They are this regularly, weekly gathering place and so there’s a social and community aspect to what we do,” he said. “I think it will be a showcase for what’s interesting here in food, in makers, in vintage and design….It’s less of a major event that happens once or twice a year and more of a reliable place to go. This feeling of discovery. The scale of it is going to be quite big. It’s a lot of space. It’s almost a festival atmosphere but it doesn’t feel as intense and crazy.”
Smorgasburg at the Row will be followed by an upstate New York version set to start Aug. 6.