The Fall of Third Street Promenade

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Alpha8472
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The Fall of Third Street Promenade

Post by Alpha8472 »

Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade was once a vibrant outdoor mall, but now it is a ghost town.

There are many possible causes: homeless people, loss of chain stores, etc.

They are thinking that perhaps Eatertainment may save it. Who knows.

I was in the area in 2019 and the pier and beach were packed with people. The area near the pier was very busy. Perhaps it is just too far to walk.

https://www.sfgate.com/la/article/santa ... 374158.php
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Re: The Fall of Third Street Promenade

Post by ClownLoach »

Alpha8472 wrote: May 26th, 2024, 1:58 pm Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade was once a vibrant outdoor mall, but now it is a ghost town.

There are many possible causes: homeless people, loss of chain stores, etc.

They are thinking that perhaps Eatertainment may save it. Who knows.

I was in the area in 2019 and the pier and beach were packed with people. The area near the pier was very busy. Perhaps it is just too far to walk.

https://www.sfgate.com/la/article/santa ... 374158.php
Santa Monica Place and 3rd Street Promenade, along with the surrounding blocks have been declining for almost two decades now. This is not new. They've been losing major stores in that area for a long time as other more convenient parts of the LA area were revitalized. They answered the problem in the article itself: only a very small percentage of the shoppers and diners were from the local area. So many people who didn't have better alternatives in their neighborhood were making the trek to Santa Monica. The city and developers misread the situation and overbuilt for the actual need in the area. What is now happening is a correction.
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Re: The Fall of Third Street Promenade

Post by buckguy »

ClownLoach wrote: May 26th, 2024, 11:15 pm
Alpha8472 wrote: May 26th, 2024, 1:58 pm Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade was once a vibrant outdoor mall, but now it is a ghost town.

There are many possible causes: homeless people, loss of chain stores, etc.

They are thinking that perhaps Eatertainment may save it. Who knows.

I was in the area in 2019 and the pier and beach were packed with people. The area near the pier was very busy. Perhaps it is just too far to walk.

https://www.sfgate.com/la/article/santa ... 374158.php
Santa Monica Place and 3rd Street Promenade, along with the surrounding blocks have been declining for almost two decades now. This is not new. They've been losing major stores in that area for a long time as other more convenient parts of the LA area were revitalized. They answered the problem in the article itself: only a very small percentage of the shoppers and diners were from the local area. So many people who didn't have better alternatives in their neighborhood were making the trek to Santa Monica. The city and developers misread the situation and overbuilt for the actual need in the area. What is now happening is a correction.
There are issues that they miss. For years, the Promenade was populated with local and regional retail (in contrast to the mall) which made it interesting and distinctive. There were several places I used to go there when I was in LA. National retailers can pay higher rents, but they also lack commitments to local communities, so it's easier for them to leave. National retailers "discovered" streetside retail in the 90s once malls had become saturated and finding a balance has been difficult---places that relied heavily on national chains have had to deal with a lot of turnover---downtown Silver Spring outside DC has had this problem whereas Bethesda which is both better off and has a better balance, has done pretty well. Relying on restaurants (part of what Santa Monica Place did) is also a problem because they are high turnover and, again, chains easily leave.

A reasonable question is whether the mall and the Promenade over-saturated the area with retail. Doing that, while diluting the distinctiveness of what's there makes it difficult to maintain it as a destination. The article doesn't mention the importance of tourism. Santa Monica is popular with foreign visitors and is a typical stop along with Disneyland and the old Hollywood stuff---Hollywood would have died ages ago without foreign tourists. Because West Coast tourism relies more on Asian tourists than East Coast tourism, I would imagine that this has been a big problem there. Asian countries were slower to open borders and Asian tourists are more essential to luxury brand sales than Europeans. In contrast, European tourists were the pioneers on the East Coast---DC was getting them in noticable numbers before domestic tourism came back. If Georgetown is any indication, a business district where tourists are a significant fraction can come back with the tourists but it can't do it by relying on national chains or easy fixes. The anchors that stayed through COVID were local businesses or stores that were their only location in the area like Levain, Thos Moser or Patagonia, which are not typical "mall stores".
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Re: The Fall of Third Street Promenade

Post by veteran+ »

buckguy wrote: May 27th, 2024, 6:37 am
ClownLoach wrote: May 26th, 2024, 11:15 pm
Alpha8472 wrote: May 26th, 2024, 1:58 pm Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade was once a vibrant outdoor mall, but now it is a ghost town.

There are many possible causes: homeless people, loss of chain stores, etc.

They are thinking that perhaps Eatertainment may save it. Who knows.

I was in the area in 2019 and the pier and beach were packed with people. The area near the pier was very busy. Perhaps it is just too far to walk.

https://www.sfgate.com/la/article/santa ... 374158.php
Santa Monica Place and 3rd Street Promenade, along with the surrounding blocks have been declining for almost two decades now. This is not new. They've been losing major stores in that area for a long time as other more convenient parts of the LA area were revitalized. They answered the problem in the article itself: only a very small percentage of the shoppers and diners were from the local area. So many people who didn't have better alternatives in their neighborhood were making the trek to Santa Monica. The city and developers misread the situation and overbuilt for the actual need in the area. What is now happening is a correction.
There are issues that they miss. For years, the Promenade was populated with local and regional retail (in contrast to the mall) which made it interesting and distinctive. There were several places I used to go there when I was in LA. National retailers can pay higher rents, but they also lack commitments to local communities, so it's easier for them to leave. National retailers "discovered" streetside retail in the 90s once malls had become saturated and finding a balance has been difficult---places that relied heavily on national chains have had to deal with a lot of turnover---downtown Silver Spring outside DC has had this problem whereas Bethesda which is both better off and has a better balance, has done pretty well. Relying on restaurants (part of what Santa Monica Place did) is also a problem because they are high turnover and, again, chains easily leave.

A reasonable question is whether the mall and the Promenade over-saturated the area with retail. Doing that, while diluting the distinctiveness of what's there makes it difficult to maintain it as a destination. The article doesn't mention the importance of tourism. Santa Monica is popular with foreign visitors and is a typical stop along with Disneyland and the old Hollywood stuff---Hollywood would have died ages ago without foreign tourists. Because West Coast tourism relies more on Asian tourists than East Coast tourism, I would imagine that this has been a big problem there. Asian countries were slower to open borders and Asian tourists are more essential to luxury brand sales than Europeans. In contrast, European tourists were the pioneers on the East Coast---DC was getting them in noticable numbers before domestic tourism came back. If Georgetown is any indication, a business district where tourists are a significant fraction can come back with the tourists but it can't do it by relying on national chains or easy fixes. The anchors that stayed through COVID were local businesses or stores that were their only location in the area like Levain, Thos Moser or Patagonia, which are not typical "mall stores".
I used to work right on Ocean Avenue. Beautiful place to work and walk around.

Parking was always a BIG problem.

Rents (commercial and residential) were always Abusive (price and attitude).

Covid destroyed Asian & Pacific tourism. Very slowly coming back.

The adjustments are going to be slow moving and that's a shame cuz it is gorgeous.
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Re: The Fall of Third Street Promenade

Post by ClownLoach »

veteran+ wrote: May 27th, 2024, 10:35 am
buckguy wrote: May 27th, 2024, 6:37 am
ClownLoach wrote: May 26th, 2024, 11:15 pm

Santa Monica Place and 3rd Street Promenade, along with the surrounding blocks have been declining for almost two decades now. This is not new. They've been losing major stores in that area for a long time as other more convenient parts of the LA area were revitalized. They answered the problem in the article itself: only a very small percentage of the shoppers and diners were from the local area. So many people who didn't have better alternatives in their neighborhood were making the trek to Santa Monica. The city and developers misread the situation and overbuilt for the actual need in the area. What is now happening is a correction.
There are issues that they miss. For years, the Promenade was populated with local and regional retail (in contrast to the mall) which made it interesting and distinctive. There were several places I used to go there when I was in LA. National retailers can pay higher rents, but they also lack commitments to local communities, so it's easier for them to leave. National retailers "discovered" streetside retail in the 90s once malls had become saturated and finding a balance has been difficult---places that relied heavily on national chains have had to deal with a lot of turnover---downtown Silver Spring outside DC has had this problem whereas Bethesda which is both better off and has a better balance, has done pretty well. Relying on restaurants (part of what Santa Monica Place did) is also a problem because they are high turnover and, again, chains easily leave.

A reasonable question is whether the mall and the Promenade over-saturated the area with retail. Doing that, while diluting the distinctiveness of what's there makes it difficult to maintain it as a destination. The article doesn't mention the importance of tourism. Santa Monica is popular with foreign visitors and is a typical stop along with Disneyland and the old Hollywood stuff---Hollywood would have died ages ago without foreign tourists. Because West Coast tourism relies more on Asian tourists than East Coast tourism, I would imagine that this has been a big problem there. Asian countries were slower to open borders and Asian tourists are more essential to luxury brand sales than Europeans. In contrast, European tourists were the pioneers on the East Coast---DC was getting them in noticable numbers before domestic tourism came back. If Georgetown is any indication, a business district where tourists are a significant fraction can come back with the tourists but it can't do it by relying on national chains or easy fixes. The anchors that stayed through COVID were local businesses or stores that were their only location in the area like Levain, Thos Moser or Patagonia, which are not typical "mall stores".
I used to work right on Ocean Avenue. Beautiful place to work and walk around.

Parking was always a BIG problem.

Rents (commercial and residential) were always Abusive (price and attitude).

Covid destroyed Asian & Pacific tourism. Very slowly coming back.

The adjustments are going to be slow moving and that's a shame cuz it is gorgeous.
Parking difficulty is a strong contribution to the isolation of the area. Like I said before, the area was over built with retailers that were not at the time locating in the rest of the area. Big boxes like Toys R Us and TJ Maxx. People put up with the difficult parking situation because they didn't necessarily have the same stores in their area. Now they do. And I'm sure rents fail to recognize that 85% of the customer base was not local and thus anywhere from 0% to 85% will never come back... But I'm sure rent reductions for these problems are 0%. Parking must be fixed as well but the local politicians are delusional and believe people are going to use the Metro mass transit options... Metro has pretty much had a violent attack every day for the last few weeks and people are afraid of the system. It seems like City Hall called the local TV stations and begged them to turn down reporting, but the local talk radio station has been pretty good at getting someone on site and posting video of new crime scenes. They must fix the parking.
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Re: The Fall of Third Street Promenade

Post by rwsandiego »

ClownLoach wrote: May 27th, 2024, 5:56 pm...Parking difficulty is a strong contribution to the isolation of the area...
The parking situation was terrible. Even when garage spaces were available, the line to get out of the garages were too damn long. I like to walk, so on visits from San Diego I'd park several blocks north and hoof it. Not everyone wants to do that.

ClownLoach wrote: May 27th, 2024, 5:56 pm...Parking must be fixed as well but the local politicians are delusional and believe people are going to use the Metro mass transit options... Metro has pretty much had a violent attack every day for the last few weeks and people are afraid of the system....
Even eight and nine years ago, before the crime became so bad, Metro wasn't a good option because it took too long to get there. I was staying in WeHo once and thought I'd take the bus, since it's right up Santa Monica Blvd. God, it took forever. Not sure what I was thinking. The light rail didn't make things much better unless you came from Culver City or some of the scary 'hoods west of downtown LA. Things would be better if the Wilshire subway went all the way to Santa Monica, but that's not happening in the near future.

You are right - they must fix the parking.
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Re: The Fall of Third Street Promenade

Post by ClownLoach »

rwsandiego wrote: May 27th, 2024, 6:56 pm
ClownLoach wrote: May 27th, 2024, 5:56 pm...Parking difficulty is a strong contribution to the isolation of the area...
The parking situation was terrible. Even when garage spaces were available, the line to get out of the garages were too damn long. I like to walk, so on visits from San Diego I'd park several blocks north and hoof it. Not everyone wants to do that.

ClownLoach wrote: May 27th, 2024, 5:56 pm...Parking must be fixed as well but the local politicians are delusional and believe people are going to use the Metro mass transit options... Metro has pretty much had a violent attack every day for the last few weeks and people are afraid of the system....
Even eight and nine years ago, before the crime became so bad, Metro wasn't a good option because it took too long to get there. I was staying in WeHo once and thought I'd take the bus, since it's right up Santa Monica Blvd. God, it took forever. Not sure what I was thinking. The light rail didn't make things much better unless you came from Culver City or some of the scary 'hoods west of downtown LA. Things would be better if the Wilshire subway went all the way to Santa Monica, but that's not happening in the near future.

You are right - they must fix the parking.
The Metro made some very subtle changes a year or so ago with a "regional connector" that merged lines together that used to be separated. For example the Long Beach to LA line now has merged with the LA to Azusa line. So there is now an even larger mixing of people, unfortunately including homeless and dangerous criminals, as these lines all combined. I believe the line that goes to Santa Monica was combined with the East LA line. The Metro still does not check fares and has homeless people who ride the same train from early morning to midnight-ish when they're kicked off. They get on the train with their belongings and fill up multiple seats, then take Fentanyl to pass out and remain effectively unconscious for many hours. Nobody wants to ride a train with that. My last time trying the LA Metro was 2016 right after the election. We had tickets to a show in Hollywood and there were protests on the streets blocking traffic so we thought it would be a good idea to park in a safe area and take the trains in. Let me tell you, the worst "bad movie stereotypes" do not even begin to describe the chaos and insanity I observed on those trains. Peddlers selling merchandise, people smoking cigarettes and marijuana openly throughout the trains, people drinking beer and hard liquor. Very scary looking gang member type guys who would run into the train at a station and stomp down the aisle clearly looking for someone specific then run out the back door, assuming that if they saw the person they were looking for they would have opened fire right inside the train. It was absolute insanity. I would imagine that anyone who can afford any type of vehicular transportation is going to take it over the trains and buses because they genuinely fear for their lives.

But they continue to approve projects with little or no parking whatsoever in Santa Monica with the belief that people are going to take the Metro. (Yes I'm aware Santa Monica has their own bus line but it's very limited). The sad part is they're spending incredible fortunes on public transportation but nobody is going to ride it without security. I have spent time in cities like Montreal where I did not have any need for a car and took trains and buses everywhere, and they weren't exactly "great neighborhoods" all the time either. It was efficient and affordable and actually fun to use the system. But they have a large and effective transit police system so nobody screws around and everyone is kept very safe. LA needs the same thing, and it's going to take years to get it under control. I'm not sure if they can before the Olympics unless they literally close entire stations permanently like the MacArthur Park open air drug bazaar.
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Re: The Fall of Third Street Promenade

Post by veteran+ »

ClownLoach wrote: May 28th, 2024, 9:48 pm
rwsandiego wrote: May 27th, 2024, 6:56 pm
ClownLoach wrote: May 27th, 2024, 5:56 pm...Parking difficulty is a strong contribution to the isolation of the area...
The parking situation was terrible. Even when garage spaces were available, the line to get out of the garages were too damn long. I like to walk, so on visits from San Diego I'd park several blocks north and hoof it. Not everyone wants to do that.

ClownLoach wrote: May 27th, 2024, 5:56 pm...Parking must be fixed as well but the local politicians are delusional and believe people are going to use the Metro mass transit options... Metro has pretty much had a violent attack every day for the last few weeks and people are afraid of the system....
Even eight and nine years ago, before the crime became so bad, Metro wasn't a good option because it took too long to get there. I was staying in WeHo once and thought I'd take the bus, since it's right up Santa Monica Blvd. God, it took forever. Not sure what I was thinking. The light rail didn't make things much better unless you came from Culver City or some of the scary 'hoods west of downtown LA. Things would be better if the Wilshire subway went all the way to Santa Monica, but that's not happening in the near future.

You are right - they must fix the parking.
The Metro made some very subtle changes a year or so ago with a "regional connector" that merged lines together that used to be separated. For example the Long Beach to LA line now has merged with the LA to Azusa line. So there is now an even larger mixing of people, unfortunately including homeless and dangerous criminals, as these lines all combined. I believe the line that goes to Santa Monica was combined with the East LA line. The Metro still does not check fares and has homeless people who ride the same train from early morning to midnight-ish when they're kicked off. They get on the train with their belongings and fill up multiple seats, then take Fentanyl to pass out and remain effectively unconscious for many hours. Nobody wants to ride a train with that. My last time trying the LA Metro was 2016 right after the election. We had tickets to a show in Hollywood and there were protests on the streets blocking traffic so we thought it would be a good idea to park in a safe area and take the trains in. Let me tell you, the worst "bad movie stereotypes" do not even begin to describe the chaos and insanity I observed on those trains. Peddlers selling merchandise, people smoking cigarettes and marijuana openly throughout the trains, people drinking beer and hard liquor. Very scary looking gang member type guys who would run into the train at a station and stomp down the aisle clearly looking for someone specific then run out the back door, assuming that if they saw the person they were looking for they would have opened fire right inside the train. It was absolute insanity. I would imagine that anyone who can afford any type of vehicular transportation is going to take it over the trains and buses because they genuinely fear for their lives.

But they continue to approve projects with little or no parking whatsoever in Santa Monica with the belief that people are going to take the Metro. (Yes I'm aware Santa Monica has their own bus line but it's very limited). The sad part is they're spending incredible fortunes on public transportation but nobody is going to ride it without security. I have spent time in cities like Montreal where I did not have any need for a car and took trains and buses everywhere, and they weren't exactly "great neighborhoods" all the time either. It was efficient and affordable and actually fun to use the system. But they have a large and effective transit police system so nobody screws around and everyone is kept very safe. LA needs the same thing, and it's going to take years to get it under control. I'm not sure if they can before the Olympics unless they literally close entire stations permanently like the MacArthur Park open air drug bazaar.
Right on!

Agree 100% on Montreal's system being very good and safe though there has been a decline in the aesthetics. The City used to be very proud of their system and would boast about it often. It WAS beautiful, I must admit.

The mass transit rail systems clearly need rethinking. I know first hand what it can do to an area. The Promenade's retail areas were measureably impacted in a negative way. The residential common areas had to be newly secured (fencing and special gated access points).
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Re: The Fall of Third Street Promenade

Post by ClownLoach »

veteran+ wrote: May 29th, 2024, 7:25 am
ClownLoach wrote: May 28th, 2024, 9:48 pm
rwsandiego wrote: May 27th, 2024, 6:56 pm
The parking situation was terrible. Even when garage spaces were available, the line to get out of the garages were too damn long. I like to walk, so on visits from San Diego I'd park several blocks north and hoof it. Not everyone wants to do that.




Even eight and nine years ago, before the crime became so bad, Metro wasn't a good option because it took too long to get there. I was staying in WeHo once and thought I'd take the bus, since it's right up Santa Monica Blvd. God, it took forever. Not sure what I was thinking. The light rail didn't make things much better unless you came from Culver City or some of the scary 'hoods west of downtown LA. Things would be better if the Wilshire subway went all the way to Santa Monica, but that's not happening in the near future.

You are right - they must fix the parking.
The Metro made some very subtle changes a year or so ago with a "regional connector" that merged lines together that used to be separated. For example the Long Beach to LA line now has merged with the LA to Azusa line. So there is now an even larger mixing of people, unfortunately including homeless and dangerous criminals, as these lines all combined. I believe the line that goes to Santa Monica was combined with the East LA line. The Metro still does not check fares and has homeless people who ride the same train from early morning to midnight-ish when they're kicked off. They get on the train with their belongings and fill up multiple seats, then take Fentanyl to pass out and remain effectively unconscious for many hours. Nobody wants to ride a train with that. My last time trying the LA Metro was 2016 right after the election. We had tickets to a show in Hollywood and there were protests on the streets blocking traffic so we thought it would be a good idea to park in a safe area and take the trains in. Let me tell you, the worst "bad movie stereotypes" do not even begin to describe the chaos and insanity I observed on those trains. Peddlers selling merchandise, people smoking cigarettes and marijuana openly throughout the trains, people drinking beer and hard liquor. Very scary looking gang member type guys who would run into the train at a station and stomp down the aisle clearly looking for someone specific then run out the back door, assuming that if they saw the person they were looking for they would have opened fire right inside the train. It was absolute insanity. I would imagine that anyone who can afford any type of vehicular transportation is going to take it over the trains and buses because they genuinely fear for their lives.

But they continue to approve projects with little or no parking whatsoever in Santa Monica with the belief that people are going to take the Metro. (Yes I'm aware Santa Monica has their own bus line but it's very limited). The sad part is they're spending incredible fortunes on public transportation but nobody is going to ride it without security. I have spent time in cities like Montreal where I did not have any need for a car and took trains and buses everywhere, and they weren't exactly "great neighborhoods" all the time either. It was efficient and affordable and actually fun to use the system. But they have a large and effective transit police system so nobody screws around and everyone is kept very safe. LA needs the same thing, and it's going to take years to get it under control. I'm not sure if they can before the Olympics unless they literally close entire stations permanently like the MacArthur Park open air drug bazaar.
Right on!

Agree 100% on Montreal's system being very good and safe though there has been a decline in the aesthetics. The City used to be very proud of their system and would boast about it often. It WAS beautiful, I must admit.

The mass transit rail systems clearly need rethinking. I know first hand what it can do to an area. The Promenade's retail areas were measureably impacted in a negative way. The residential common areas had to be newly secured (fencing and special gated access points).
Montréal has replaced the majority of the trains with beautiful new models they call Azur. They are a vast improvement over the MR series trains. They have also been systematically remodeling the stations one at a time to restore the brutalist architecture and artwork along with adding modern necessities such as elevators and escalators. They also have added a new above ground light rail that is fully driverless and automated called the REM system and it will be expanding rapidly to reach the surrounding cities off the island. Restored and repaired stations look great but the project is ongoing with no end date. The stations are usually fully closed during the repair work except for major transfer point stations such as Berri-UQAM which seems to be a perpetual construction zone. They are also eventually going to add a 4th Metro line (Rose) and extend the blue line. I would love to live in a city with a quality system such as the STM in Montréal.
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Re: The Fall of Third Street Promenade

Post by ClownLoach »

And it's official... Macerich, owner of the Promenade's mall Santa Monica Place, stopped paying the loan and has allowed the banks to foreclose on the property.

Macerich owns many more successful centers, one of their crown jewels being the highly successful Scottsdale Fashion Square in Arizona. The article states they owe more than the Santa Monica property is worth.

https://smdp.com/2024/06/13/macerich-to ... ty-exodus/
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