City Market South
Occupying 2.5 acres of the Original City Market wholesale produce center is the 75,000 sq. foot campus of City Market South – An urban mixed-used space spread across eight buildings at the intersection of the Fashion and Wholesale Districts. Opening in the Spring of 2017, City Market South was designed as a modern community space for people to gather, dine, and relax.
The open-air complex features a pedestrian only central plaza surrounded by creative workspaces, retail spaces, and the newly opened Bologna style restaurant, Rossoblu.
Originally founded in 1909 as a co-op for farmers seeking a central distribution center in Los Angeles, The City Market thrived until the 1960s when fruit and vegetable spaces began to be replaced by the thriving Fashion District. As farmers were required to own stock in the original City Market, many of their descendants remain current shareholders today, including Peter Fleming, current CEO of The City Market of Los Angeles, and great-nephew of original co-founder Edward J. Fleming. By the late 2000s, Fleming recognize a need to revitalize the existing space and enlisted the help of developers Mark Levy and Kevin Napoli, partners at LENA Group, Inc. “The place had an energy and human scale that we felt right away. And in spite of a location that wasn’t on anyone’s radar yet outside of the garment world, it had a critical mass that made it worthy as a destination and not reliant on foot traffic,” says Napoli.
Preserving the fabric of the neighborhood was top priority, which meant conceptualizing a space that retained original architectural features while offering modern amenities and facilities. “Angelenos are a diverse and global crowd. They travel. They experience life in cities all over the world and they want their lives to continue to improve just like everybody else. As developers we are planners, too,” explains Napoli. After three and half years of development, City Market South features an expansive central square and bocce ball court, along with lush landscaping and pedestrian friendly pathways. Creative tenants include MASA Studio, Drive Media, and LENA Group offices. Cognoscenti Coffee and Rossoblu are the first in a line of food and beverage concepts that include San Francisco’s Slanted Door and a cocktail driven food and beverage concept set to open later this year.
Future plans include City Market South Social House, which will offer 16,000 sq. feet of creative and event space as well as 5,000 sq. feet of adaptable outdoor space including private garden and event hall. “City Market South will be collaborating with various partners in the art, music, film, culinary space as well as together with the Fashion District BID as programming is planned for the year” says Kevin Napoli. For now, the focus is on completing tenant build-outs, which are set to be complete by early next year.
Written by Ivan Navarro
Photographed by Natasha Lee