I work across the street from the Starbucks on in the Glo building on Wilshire and Bixel, and it's truly amazing how much it's changed the neighborhood in just a few months. The store is more and more crowded with each passing week and you see a lot more people walking down the street. You have your typical yuppie types who live in Glo and 1100 Wilshire, but there's also local office workers and employees from Good Samaritan Hospital.
This stretch of Wilshire has always been deserted--1100 Wilshire was an abandoned office building and before Glo was built, the site was an empty lot. But now it actually feels like a neighborhood instead of just a corridor between Vermont and Downtown.
When I first saw the new condos going up, I thought the developers were nuts. But they are filling, even if a some of them had to convert to rentals. Apparently, a lot of the apartments are rented by USC students, which kind of boggles me because a) we're not all that close to USC and b) college students can afford those rents? I guess USC students really are rich bastards.
We still need more restaurants and retail in the neighborhood. But I think that the success of Starbucks is going to draw in more businesses. And unlike the wars over Broadway's development, bringing in more chain stores and more yuppie businesses (for want of a better description) isn't going to displace pre-existing retail.
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