The city of Los Angeles is large and sprawling with one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. It ranks in the top ten of the world’s most economically powerful cities. On a workday, Downtown Los Angeles explodes with an influx of more than half a million people. And yet for years, Angelenos have found fault with the idea of actually living in DTLA. When the work bell rang, downtown became a ghost town. In the last three years, that situation has changed rapidly and dramatically.
With an increase in restaurants helmed by chefs of the highest caliber, culture that can stand with anything on a national level and entertainment befitting a city built on that foundation, DLTA has finally realized its true potential. In 2014, GQ Magazine called DTLA America’s Next Great City for all those reasons and more. DTLA’s 90012 zip code is being anointed as America’s second biggest boomtown, growing six times faster than the average rate for zip codes within the country’s top 100 counties and downtown as a whole. The population has doubled every year since 2013 and features a 95%+ residential occupancy rate. Angelenos are now choosing the urban lifestyle and all that it affords them. It can finally compete with neighborhoods like those found on the Westside and West Hollywood. DTLA has become a “thing.”
In the early 2000s, the majority of buyers who bought in DTLA worked outside of the neighborhood. Today, the majority of DTLA buyers walk to their work. The jobs brought them there and the lifestyle is keeping them there. The target profile has also changed. Younger, older, it’s a broad age range with great diversity that even includes couples with young children. The different mix has added a different energy. Seeing baby strollers on the street no longer causes a double take.
Since there is no such thing as a typical DTLA condo buyer, unique approaches beyond the foundational marketing mix must be taken to target the markets. Growth areas like the Chinese and Korean communities must be reached in mediums and venues that are relatable. Planned event series partnering with lifestyle brands that personify the “new” DTLA are an important way to get the message out to curious Angelenos that it’s a new day in downtown. An engagement program with offices promoting the idea of a “walk able” commute also helps to change a lifestyle perception for traffic-fatigued commuters.
Downtown Los Angeles is city of great opportunity. With 10+ years in the market, we saw this coming. It’s no longer a question of whether DTLA is a viable market; it’s a question of how far it will go. Frankly, we don’t know. But a parallel can be made with Manhattan of 30 years ago. With the momentum DTLA currently has, the potential to match any other great city in the nation is there, because there will only be more buyers moving forward. Buyers that now see Downtown Los Angeles as a true, viable, flourishing, urban community.