June 15, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Column: Adapting to Westside Vacancies

By Avi Sinai

We all see the vacant storefronts around the Westside and it begs the question – why are they empty for so long? Despite a sizzling real estate market on the westside we continually see:

  • Vacant storefronts on Wilshire Blvd
  • Empty car lots of failed dealerships on Santa Monica Blvd
  • And Santa Monica Place, designed as the city’s flagship retail hub, has rows and rows of empty stores just a few years removed from a major multi-million-dollar rebuild.

The e-commerce effect on brick and mortar establishments are well documented, even in strong markets such as West LA and Manhattan. New retailers often forgo brick and mortar strategy to sell their products online through organic marketing and social media. A good local example is Ring – a local startup in Santa Monica, selling a home security system operates with almost no retail presence of their own.

A new trend emerged in recent years – shared office space and creative retail structures. They’ve proven to be a boon for the local community – they generate jobs, incubate new startups, and are an efficient use of real estate spaces. Creative office space companies are expanding, and private real estate lenders are shelling out capital to developers to build even more spaces of this kind.

Old retail spaces have little use for today’s new businesses. A traditional casual dining restaurant requires 4000 square feet to operate but new restaurants have no use for that much space. Larger stores require a bigger initial investment and demand much higher rents. To name one example – the iconic Penguin Coffee shop in Santa Monica stayed vacant for years before a viable tenant showed up, and was recently remodeled as a diner.

Closure of retail giants such as Toys “R” Us have taken their toll in secondary markets, as rents stagnated and retail real estate’s future is openly questioned. But some opportunistic entrepreneurs started taking advantage of the vacancies. Companies offering shared office space like WeWork are gobbling up office and retail space in high-demand locations. There are at least a dozen different shared office locations working in Santa Monica alone. The old Westside Pavilion, a retail graveyard that eventually died a few years back – will be converted into high-end offices as a new campus for Google. Sears flagship store in downtown Santa Monica will be also converted into creative office space in the coming years.

It is important to foster and encourage this growth organically – and resist regulatory urges to tax and limit this trend. It is true that traditional retail spaces (car dealerships in particular) generate tax revenue for the city, but vacant storefronts don’t generate anything. The retail real estate market is eager for a lifeline – regulators should take advantage of the Westside’s status as a premium location and encourage more businesses of that nature. New startups and businesses are more likely to stay local, hire locally, and contribute to the local community.

About the author: Avi Sinai is the principal of HM Capital, a Los Angeles company specializes in hard money real estate loan and private lending. To contact HM Capital you can call (530) 436-5630, or email all inquiries to avi@hardmoola.com

Related Posts

Edify TV: Westside Vandalism Suspect Arrested

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

A man has been arrested in connection with a series of Westside vandalisms in West L.A., including at a local...

Homeless Man Arrested On Boardwalk After Assault on Senior Street Performer: YO! Venice Show – June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Homeless Man Arrested On Boardwalk After Assault on Senior Street Performer...

Venice Boardwalk Development Appeal Hearing Postponed

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

Appeal hearing for mixed development at 811-815 Ocean Front Walk pushed back to August By Chad Winthrop An appeal hearing...

Wood Framing Complete For Mar Vista Affordable Housing Project

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

Vista Ballona development expected to be completed later this year with 50 units of affordable housing  By Toi Creel Wood...

Venice Boardwalk Encampment Resident Arrested for Violent Attack Against Elderly Performer

June 10, 2021

June 10, 2021

LAPD announce the arrest of 45-year-old Macio Harger By Sam Catanzaro Police have arrested a homeless man for the violent...

In-Person Events Are Back with Summer Swing Nights: Jazzy Vocals plus Live Big Band – Now with Tap Dance, Swing Lessons, Vendors to Benefit Museum

June 10, 2021

June 10, 2021

Live, in-person entertainment is bringing out happy fans of all ages for Summer Swing Nights: Drive-In Edition. The concert fundraiser features the...

First Baptist Church Of Venice One Step Closer To Becoming Historic Monument: YO! Venice Show – June 7, 2021

June 7, 2021

June 7, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Hunter Biden and Family Move Out of Venice Canals Rental Home...

Mother’s Beach Lifeguard Tower Painted to Raise Awareness for Autism

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

LA County Ocean Lifeguard Scott Snyder paints MDR lifeguard tower to support special needs families By Sam Catanzaro A Mother’s...

Santa Monica Parking Structure to be Replaced by Housing?

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

A Santa Monica parking structure be demolished and replaced with affordable housing. Learn more in this video made possible by Santa...

Venice Pride Big Beach Clean Up This Morning

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

By Timothy. Michael Up early? Well help clean the beach with Venice Pride this morning. In honor of Pride 2021...

Opinion: Real Election Reforms Required as Venice Neighborhood Council Wraps Up 2021 Campaign

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

By Nick Antonicello Why would someone like me who has lived in Venice since 1993 and has been a registered...

PPCC to Fundraise, Retain Counsel in Opposition to Bonin Housing Proposal

June 3, 2021

June 3, 2021

Pacific Palisades Community Council approves raising funds for legal expense, retain counsel in opposition of use of housing proposal  By...