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On Melrose, a different sense of place

The quaint, quiet, tree-lined shopping destination is in the midst of an upscale shift that has some feeling left out.

July 12, 2008|Cara Mia DiMassa | Times Staff Writer

As big-name fashion companies have opened outposts on the street, Vaughan said, their top-shelf advertising budgets and marketing campaigns have also created a buzz for Melrose Place, separate from the TV nostalgia. "We see Carolina Herrera ads in Vogue with the Melrose Place address on the bottom," Vaughan said.

Still, that buzz also has given landlords on the street reason to raise rents on existing tenants.

"One deal gets done, and the next thing you know, three or four brands are competing for space," said Jay Luchs, a commercial real estate broker who has worked on the street.

The future of the block, in many ways, rests on the kinds of issues that plague most urban transformations: walkability and parking. "We just don't have the facilities to have tons of people walking the street," said Vaughan, of Bird. "It's just not happening. And I don't think it will."

Several of the new stores have brought in valets, and Feld said there are plans for a nearby parking facility.

But that, too, has stirred the pot. Jim Genesta, owner of Bungalow Salon, said that his clients started encountering problems with parking soon after Marc Jacobs moved in. "Even though they weren't busy, they took up all the parking," Genesta said. "Valet guys were putting in metal files to rig the meters. . . . We lost a lot of clients because of that."

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cara.dimassa@latimes.com

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