Consumer Concept Group of Denver will spend about $5 million to build three… (Consumer Concept Group )
The ESPN Zone sports bar and restaurant at L.A. Live closed over the weekend to make way for three new restaurants at the downtown Los Angeles entertainment venue next to Staples Center.
ESPN Zone will be replaced with Smashburger, Live Basil Pizza and Tom's Urban 24, all of which are operated by Consumer Concept Group of Denver.
"We'll bring a lower price point to an area right now dominated by white tablecloth sit-down restaurants," said Rick Schaden, chairman of Consumer Concept Group. Entrees such as hamburgers and pizzas will cost about $7 or $8.
When all of the eateries are open by the end of the year, it will be the first time the company has three restaurants side-by-side, Schaden said. The restaurants will share a common kitchen and seat a combined 600 to 700 patrons indoors and out.
Schaden's company will spend about $5 million to build the new restaurants at the northwest corner of Figueroa Street and Chick Hearn Court.
Schaden declined to disclose how much rent Consumer Concept Group will pay landlord AEG but said the total cost of setting up shop in L.A. Live will be substantial for his company. "It's very high ... but we really think it's going to be worth it," he said.
The location across the street from the main entrance of Staples Center assures a steady stream of potential customers on days when events are held, and he expects foot traffic in the area to continue to grow on days when the arena is dark.
New hotels are under construction nearby, thousands of apartments are being built within a few blocks and a growing number of events are being scheduled at the nearby Los Angeles Convention Center. AEG's proposed Farmers Field professional football stadium would be a further boost, Schaden said.
"Downtown L.A. in the next 10 years is going to be completely transformed," he said, "and we're excited to be on the front end of that."
Sports broadcaster ESPN will continue to operate its West Coast operations out of L.A. Live, and will take over second-floor recreation space above the former ESPN Zone to add more room to its studio, said Ted Tanner, head of real estate for AEG.
Most outlets of the sports-themed ESPN Zone chain have been closed by parent company Walt Disney Co., but one store remains open near Disneyland in Anaheim.
Smashburger has more than a dozen Southern California stores selling the company's signature diner fare. Live Basil Pizza will offer pizzas made to the specifications of each customer and cooked quickly in a very hot oven. Tom's Urban 24 will serve American comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner and keep late hours.
"We were getting feedback that there weren't enough options for people after movies and games," Tanner said. "This will offer another alternative."