Lots of activity at The Grove during COVID-19 shutdown

| June 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

THE GROVE:  What’s missing in this photo? Inquiring minds want to know.

Like everywhere in Los Angeles, things were very quiet at The Grove in April and almost all of May.* Impresario developer Rick Caruso kept all of his real estate projects open for walking (with the fountains flowing and music playing), even though the retail shops were not open. Later during this early phase of the pandemic, a few of his restaurants were available for takeout, but the outdoor shopping mall remained pretty quiet.

With one big exception.

During this business slowdown, demolition equipment made quick work of the former, two-story Crate & Barrel store. Located just west of Nordstrom’s, the big building was taken down to the ground. What will replace it? That is a very good question.

What’s next at The Grove?

NEW GROVE PEDESTRIAN ACCESS from Third Street? View from the street looks north during Crate & Barrel demolition.

Some observing architects and urban designers have suggested that this is a wonderful opportunity to penetrate The Grove’s long wall along Third Street by providing a pedestrian experience where people may walk into the center of the project direct from Third Street. These design kibitzers note that such a new pathway would be on axis with the
landmark “The Grove” sign atop the eight-story parking structure.

SPACE for new stores or more, the former site of Crate & Barrel,
with apartments and the Miracle Mile to the south.

One source at Caruso, who said details about the replacement for Crate & Barrel were not ready for public disclosure, did indicate that what is proposed is some sort of exciting new concept. That made it sound like a single vendor, rather than a series of smaller shops and pop-up merchandise carts along a winding pedestrian street. Stay tuned.

Grove “drive-thru”

NOVEL DRIVE-THRU on the Grove’s Main Street, normally accessible only to a trolley, was open one afternoon during novel coronavirus shutdown.

Despite the empty interior, there was one, novel event that took place inside The Grove during mid-May. On May 16, scores and scores of private vehicles had the opportunity to do what only The Grove trolley has done before.

From the east end of The Grove’s Main Street, people in their cars were allowed to enter the mall and drive around the village green space, pass the movie theater, wind around the tall column with the angel sculpture (that becomes Santa’s House at the appropriate time of year) and finally make their ways to Gilmore Lane, where the adventure ended.

MIRAMAR HOTEL food truck (from Montecito [blue stripes) visited The Grove and helped raise funds to provide 21,000 meals through Para Los Niños.

And the purpose of this drive-thru expedition? Well, it is The Grove after all, so the answer is “to shop.“

And how does one shop in his or her car? Just like at McDonald’s.

In this case, the fare for sale was far fancier than at Mickey D’s. From Kurobuta Carnitas Tacos and Mary’s Organic Fried Chicken Sandwiches, everything being sold was “food to go.” Main Street at The Grove became a “drivethru” for that Saturday afternoon. Caruso’s Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel in Montecito brought some of Chef Massimo Falsini’s favorite foods to be enjoyed here in Los Angeles. The chef prepared them in a fancy food truck.

MENU for patrons on Main
Street at The Grove.

Patrons, upon entering Main Street in their cars, were greeted by the modern equivalent of a carhop, who took orders and accepted payment. The cars then moved on to the Miramar food truck, where drivers were handed bags with their purchases and were wished goodbye.

MENU for patrons on Main Street at The Grove.

They also were, in essence, thanked for a good buy. The event was a charity fundraiser. Caruso donated 100 percent of sales proceeds to beneficiary Para los Niños, based on Skid Row. The money provided by sales and more from Rick and Tina Caruso provided 21,000 meals to help feed 85,000 individuals in need during this time of shutdown and unemployment.

The president and CEO of Para Los Niños, Drew Furedi, said his organization is “enormously grateful to be a part of the first-ever drive-thru at The Grove — as our children, families, and youth are some of the hardest hit by the disruptions caused by COVID-19.”

* Sadly, looters broke into several Grove stores on May 30.

 

 

 

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Category: Real Estate

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