The Grove at Farmers Market
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The animated fountains at The Grove
|Location||Los Angeles, California|
|Address||189 The Grove Drive Los Angeles, CA 90036|
|Opening date||February 2002|
|No. of anchor tenants||1|
|Total retail floor area||600,000 sq ft (56,000 m2)|
|No. of floors||2|
The complex fills space previously occupied by an orchard and nursery (the last remains of a dairy farm owned by A.F. Gilmore in the latter part of the 19th century). The developers began demolition of an antiques alley and other older buildings on Third Street behind CBS Television City, and broke ground for the new mall in 1999. There was some controversy over potentially increasing traffic in a busy Los Angeles neighborhood that already offered several other shopping venues, including the Beverly Center. The Grove opened in 2002 and has been an extremely popular outdoor mall ever since.
The history behind the development of the A.F. Gilmore property that eventually became The Grove was not without controversy. In 1984, A.F. Gilmore and neighboring CBS Television City hired Olympia & York California Equities Corp. to look into the possibility of creating a major business and entertainment complex that would have been twice as large as Universal City but would have required the demolition of all existing structures at both Farmers Market and CBS in the process. That plan was not well received by the City of Los Angeles or by its neighbors and the plan was later shelved. Two years later A.F. Gilmore and CBS hired Urban Investment & Development Co. of Chicago to create another development plan.
In 1989, A.F. Gilmore announced that it was going to build a $300 million mall adjacent to the existing Farmers Market and that the new project would be managed by JMB/Urban Development of Chicago. The proposed mall was going to be anchored by May Company California (180,000 sq ft), Nordstrom, and J. W. Robinson's (150,000 sq ft) along with over 100 other stores. Later, the project was scaled down to 2 anchors.
During the next decade, A.F. Gilmore announced in 1998 a further scaled down plan with Caruso Affiliated as the new development partner for a new proposal that eventually became The Grove at Farmers Market, a $100-million project on 25 acres. Nordstrom signed on in 2001 to build a 122,000 sq ft store. By early 2001, toy retailer FAO Schwarz also sign on for 25,000 sq ft. along with Banana Republic, Gap, Barnes & Noble, J. Crew, Maggiano's Italian restaurant and a 14-screen movie complex to be the initial stores in the new project. After many delays, the retail center finally opened in March 2002.
FAO Schwarz was one of the first retail casualties at the Grove when FAO Schwarz's parent company had to declare bankruptcy the following year. The Grove was able to replace the store with American Girl Place, which opened in April 2006. Abercrombie & Fitch closed their flagship store in 2013, and it was replaced with a Nike flagship store, which opened in 2015. Also in 2013, Banana Republic moved into a new space at the mall, and the old space was replaced with the first Topshop/Topman store in Los Angeles.
In the original plan, the 14-screen movie complex was going to be built by Pacific Theatres to be its first Arc Light multiplex. At the last minute, Pacific Theatres pulled out of the project and opted to build the multiplex in Hollywood, ArcLight Hollywood, instead. Caruso decided to fund the construction of the multiplex out of their own pockets. After 10 months of successful operations, Caruso decided to sell the multiplex outright. Pacific gave the highest bid at $30 million.
The 575,000-square-foot (53,400 m2) outdoor marketplace is located in Los Angeles' Fairfax District. Initial architectural design was performed in house by David Williams of Caruso Affiliated Holdings and by KMD Architects of San Francisco. Caruso Affiliated claims to have modeled its architectural designs on indigenous Los Angeles buildings, influenced by classic historic districts, with shopping alleys, broad plazas, and intimate courtyards. The design features a series of Art Deco-style false fronts, with boxy interiors similar to those found in other contemporary stores.
The Grove features a large center park with an animated fountain designed by WET. Its music-fountain show plays every hour, though the feature has a non-musical program in between shows. The water's choreography is reminiscent of the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas—also designed by WET—but on a much smaller scale.
The property also has a statue, The Spirit of Los Angeles. Live shows are often performed there - on the grassy area by the fountains. An internal transit system uses electric-powered trolley cars to link The Grove and the adjacent Farmers Market.
Shops and restaurants
The Grove is anchored by Nordstrom and has flagship stores for British fashion chain Topshop/Topman, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. Other stores in the center include Michael Kors, two-story Gap and J.Crew locations, Crate & Barrel, Nike, MAC Cosmetics, Coach, Anthropologie, Barneys New York, Kiehl's, and American Girl Place.
The Grove's many restaurants include chains like Maggiano's Little Italy and The Cheesecake Factory as well as smaller, local restaurants like Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill, Morels French Steakhouse, The Whisper Lounge, and La Piazza. The Original Farmers Market, located adjacent to The Grove and owned by the A.F. Gilmore Company, features numerous non-chain restaurants that have existed there for sometimes decades.
During the holiday shopping season, artificial snow is produced periodically every evening. In mid-November, the Grove Christmas Tree is displayed, and lit every evening, beginning with their annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The tree remains lit every evening for the remainder of the holiday season. Usually up to 100 feet or more, it is the tallest Christmas tree in the city of Los Angeles.
- Clifford, Fran (March 29, 1984). "Hate to See Farmers Market Go, but...". Los Angeles Times. p. WS1. (Subscription required (. )) Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- Ryon, Ruth (May 11, 1986). "Redevelopment of CBS, Farmers Market Studied". Los Angeles Times.
- Groves, Martha (October 10, 1989). "2 Big Retailers to Anchor Mall at Farmers Market : Decision by Nordstrom, May Co. Stirs Up Concerns Over Increased Traffic". Los Angeles Times.
- Yoshihara, Nancy (November 16, 1989). "Robinson's to Join in Farmers Market Mall". Los Angeles Times.
- Chazanov, Mathis (November 14, 1990). "Project at Farmers Market Endorsed : Development: A city planner rules that the scaled-down version can go ahead despite potentially negative effects. It would include two department stores and senior housing.". Los Angeles Times.
- Sanchez, Jesus (May 22, 1998). "Farmers Market to Unveil New Development". Los Angeles Times.
The proposed development, designed by David Williams of Caruso Affiliated Holdings and KMD Architects of San Francisco.
- "The Grove to Include Schwarz, Nordstrom". Los Angeles Times. March 13, 2001.
Toy retailer FAO Schwarz has leased 25,000 square feet of shop space and construction is underway on a 122,000-square-foot Nordstrom store at the Grove at Farmers Market.
- Sanchez, Jesus (July 21, 1999). "Nordstrom Joins Project Next to Farmers Market". Los Angeles Times.
Nordstrom Inc. said Tuesday that it plans to open a 120,000-square-foot department store. The department store chain will join a collection of other well-known retailers--including giant flagship stores for Banana Republic, Crate & Barrel and Gap. The Gap, for example, will locate all of its retail brands in a single 26,050-square-foot space. Banana Republic will open a 30,400-square-foot store. The center will also be home to Pacific Theaters' first Arc Light multiplex.
- Annicelli, Cliff & Burkhart, Jesse (March 13, 2001). "FAO building Los Angeles flagship store". Gifts and Decorative Accessories.
- "FAO Schwarz Selects The Grove at Farmers Market for Los Angeles Flagship Store, Announces Developer Caruso Affiliated Holdings.". Business Wire (Press release). March 13, 2001 – via The Free Library.
- Diroll, Patt & Conway, Ann (March 24, 2002). "Grove Opener". Los Angeles Times.
- Groves, Martha & Cho, Cynthia H. (April 19, 2006). "Fun for Some, Irritation for Others The American Girl store opening at the Grove is expected to make the area's already bad traffic even worse.". Los Angeles Times.
The Grove opened in March 2002 to great fanfare and quickly became one of the most popular attractions around. ...American Girl Place to fill the spot vacated by FAO Schwarz, a ritzy toy merchant whose parent company filed for bankruptcy protection.
- Sanchez, Jesus (December 12, 2002). "Pacific Theatres Expected to Acquire Grove Cinemas: The chain would pay about $30 million for the successful multiplex, sources say.". Los Angeles Times.