Glassell Park shopping gets ready for its glow up

Glassell Park — The last time Verdugo Plaza attracted much attention was six years ago when a fire destroyed the most prominent tenant, the Verdugo Rancho Supermarket.

Now, the same small shopping center is attracting attention with a bold new color scheme. It’s part of a makeover that involves a high-profile architect and a bid to attract new tenants to a gentrifying neighborhood.

The three-building shopping center at the corner of Verdugo Road and Arthur Street had already been undergoing an evolution in the gentrifying neighborhood before it was recently painted in bold shades of yellow and white.

Lemon Poppy Kitchen opened a few years ago and has become a popular neighborhood staple, drawing big crowds on weekend mornings. Meanwhile, a new martial arts studio also set up shop while a large coin-operated laundry continues to attract customers to Verdugo Plaza.

The pace of change began to pick up last year after the real estate investment firm Coda Equities purchased the half empty property for $6.2 million. The firm has a reputation for buying commercial properties, renovating them and finding new tenants.

“This center serves as a destination for millennials, artists, writers, musicians, hipsters and working class of the Glassell Park community,” said CBRE broker Karol Le, who represented Coda in the deal.  “It’s irreplaceable and fills an important role in this neighborhood.”

The owners are now in the process of seeking new tenants to fill the remaining empty spaces.

In addition to the bold new color scheme, the firm of Silver Lake architect Barbara Bestor has been hired to redo the former corner market,  according to marketing materials. Bestor’s work has included new housing developments in Echo Park, stores for the Intelligentsia coffee chain and the renovation of Silver Lake’s landmark Silvertop house.

“The scope of work includes opening up the corner building to the surrounding neighborhood and updating the signage, color, and landscape for the other two buildings in the plaza,” said a marketing brochure.

No word on when the renovations will be completed.

Photo by Jesus Sanchez