Eastward Ho! The Next Wave in DTLA’s Resurgence

In an exclusive podcast interview, Kennedy Wilson VP of Brokerage Justin Weiss outlines the unique factors that have accelerated mixed-use development in downtown Los Angeles and describes what to expect as the submarket's boom continues.
Justin Weiss

Ask Kennedy Wilson’s Justin Weiss what’s next for the City of Angels, and he’ll tell you: “L.A. is moving east. … Downtown L.A. is going to become a true melting pot.

The observation comes from Weiss’ experience representing more than 30 properties in downtown Los Angeles’ core in some of the area’s largest retail transactions to date as Kennedy Wilson’s VP of brokerage—and, colloquially, “Mr. DTLA.” 

Weiss earned the moniker for his extensive involvement in downtown L.A.’s transformation. In his more than 10 years in commercial real estate sales and leasing, Weiss has noticed that tenants and residents have shifted their sights toward the increasingly dense east side of the submarket.

Where jobs go, development follows

Over the past few years, Weiss secured one of the largest retail leases on Broadway—a primary north-south thoroughfare and prominent shopping corridor—at approximately 29,000 square feet for Planet Fitness. He also led the team that transformed the tenant mix of The Sparkle Factory, a 23,800-square-foot office building that includes the headquarters of Tarina Tarantino’s international jewelry brand.

These days, Weiss is focused on reimagining the 7th street restaurant row, along with overseeing retail leasing for The Collection at Oceanwide Plaza, a 153,000-square-foot mixed-use shopping and entertainment destination located across the street from the Staples Center and LA Live. He also has a hand in leasing a 23,000-square-foot retail and restaurant space on the 72nd floor of the U.S. Bank Tower, offering panoramic city views from a 1,000-foot elevation.  

The city’s downtown core is already abuzz with activity, Weiss explained, making it an ideal fit for more mixed-use, transit-oriented development. “We have (500,000) employees that work downtown. That’s the third-largest concentration of employees that work in a downtown in the country,” he said. As the city improves its existing transit infrastructure, it will only continue to attract more interested from investors and developers.