September 4, 2013

Gaining Traction

Here at FE Design, we face a lot of challenges—that’s our job—but Traction Avenue Brewpub has definitely been one of our more demanding projects. And I’m happy to say we were triumphant in the end. As a resident and longtime lover of the Arts District, I’m honored to be a part of the development of this exciting area. The 213 Group is a nightlife organization I had always aspired to work with as a young bartender, playing music and living in a loft on 2nd and Santa Fe back in the ‘90s. I remember when I first saw the change happen in the Arts District when the Savoy building went in on 1st and Alameda.

This kind of change is what was used against the Traction Avenue Brewpub project as we moved closer to our public hearing in front of city planning zoning administration for the decision to allow alcohol sales. Prior to the hearing we visited three neighborhood organizations, LAPD, and various community leaders to gather support for our application. All were gathered and we felt pretty confident moving forward. The wild card was the location being across the street from a known alcohol opponent and resident leader, who managed to demonize the application in every possible way. Propaganda was spilled all over the streets saying the Brewpub was responsible for the dissolution of artists in the area. One hearing, a nightmarish community meeting, and two appeals later, the planning application was approved. I stuck by my client the entire way. I made some enemies, but I also made some great friends. Congratulations to Traction Avenue Brewpub and the many new businesses making the Arts District of Downtown LA one of the city’s most exciting neighborhoods.