A Message From the Executive Director

Dear LA Fashion District Stakeholders:

In this time of uncertainty, I want to provide you with some insights into the status of the Fashion District neighborhood and how the BID is responding during this unprecedented time.

Over the last few months, the District has rebounded and reopened – slowly on some blocks and more quickly on others. 

Here’s what I know:

  • Many businesses received some kind of rent reprieve in April and May
  • We're starting to see more businesses close as the months continue and rents become due (we're currently conducting a survey of vacancies and will report the results soon)
  • Brokers are reporting that deals are being made and leases are being signed in the Fashion District
  • Only about 30% of DTLA office tenants are back in their buildings

Here’s what I think:

  • Businesses that depend on office tenants are having a tough time and those that don’t will rebound more quickly.  
  • Because much of the District is still largely wholesale-oriented in fashion, flowers and fabric, it will recover more easily from the 2-month total shut down and consumer safety apprehensions due to COVID.  

In May, I drafted a letter with other Los Angeles BIDs, that was sent to the Mayor’s office. You can view that letter HERE. We were invited to meet with the Mayor’s Economic Development team, where they heard our concerns and suggestions. Additionally, as a Board Member ofBizFed, I was invited to a meeting with Mayor Garcetti to discuss economic recovery. Between the two meetings, it was clear to me the Mayor’s office is ready to support any good ideas we bring to the table. I’ll share our initiatives in a future email, and I welcome your thoughts.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to discuss the homeless encampments in the District:

  • The number of unhoused people in the Fashion District BID has increased year-over-year by 33%. 
  • The tents are larger, belongings have increased, and the City has largely taken a hands-off approach to enforcing ADA compliance on the sidewalks and even some streets. 
  • COVID has resulted in people being released from crowded prisons with nowhere else to go but the streets. 
  • 25% of the population is out of work, which is also contributing to the increase in homelessness. 

The bottom line is that moving people from one side of the street to the other is just not working, and it uses a massive amount of resources without actually solving the problem of finding a home for them. The real problem is that our City does not have safe places for people to live, especially for those with real medical needs or mental illness. With the various lawsuits, settlements and judgements, I don’t see this changing until there are beds and homes available.

So, what do we do? We all need to keep pushing the City, the County and the State to step up and deal with the issue of homelessness and find homes and medical assistance for those in need. Our BID Staff consistently, and creatively, continues to work every angle –- with LAPD and Sanitation, the Mayor's office, various City Council offices, Judge Carter, etc. -- in order to try and get some kind of compliance. But we also need to work on finding locations for temporary shelters, Bridge Homes, and permanent housing.  

The pandemic is a major disrupter and an accelerator of injustices and trends that were already occurring prior to the pandemic. But overall, long-term prospects remain favorable for downtowns and especially the Fashion District. It will survive by recreating itself just like it has done for the past 4 decades. We still have a thriving pedestrian scene with culture, diversity, and creativity. The BID will support and facilitate the neighborhood as it survives and thrives. 

Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns at: rena@fashiondistrict.org

Be safe and be well,

Rena Leddy, Executive Director