Some say the economy is getting better â€“ that housing prices are rebounding, more are finding jobs and the stock market is doing well.
Maybe that’s a precursor of something good on the horizon.
But if we open our eyes and look around Brentwood, it still seems like a fairly mixed bag.
San Gennaro just closed after 26 years. Right across the street, on Barrington Place, there’s a big â€œfor leaseâ€ sign just to the left of the martial arts studio. And just to the right of the studio, one can see Ragg Tattoo, a kids clothing store, has left Brentwood.
On the west side of Barrington Ave. in Brentwood Village, an art gallery recently departed, but the storefronts just around the corner on Barrington Court, recently got a very nice facelift (Starbucks, Le Pain Quotidien, Chelsea, Paige, Second Street Framing, etc.).
The gas station across from Archer School has been nicely cleaned up, the result of local pressures brought to bear on LAPD and the City Councilman’s office. The Brentwood Village Chamber, Senior Lead Officer Maria Gray, Mike Bonin of Bill Rosendahl’s office, representatives from Archer School and others deserve a lot of credit for their collective effort. It shows.
The Brentwood (a restaurant and bar) on the other side of Barrington Ave. will now take up the space where that sushi place used to be.
That’s just Brentwood Village. Moving down to San Vicente, The Cheesecake Factory remains closed, although we keep hearing there will be an announcement â€œany day nowâ€ about something new going in there.
San Sai, a sushi place across the street from Cheesecake Factory, has been gone a few months now, as has LaSalsa (close to Gorham), which we hear will soon become a burger place.
That third floor restaurant space right above California Pizza Kitchen in Brentwood Gardens has been vacated once again. That French place, like so many other concepts that preceded it, couldn’t make it.
Maybe two months ago, Falconhead on San Vicente was shuttered. Across the street and slightly to the right, that brick building where Lululemon is awaits something more. There has been talk about a nice restaurant going in for years â€“ slowed by homeowner opposition because of parking issues.
Then again, there’s a two-story project going in just to the east of Lululemon, where that empty parking lot stood for years. We’re told the new structure will house a women’s dress store (or maybe two). Clothing stores would be a nice change from all the nail salons going in.
Continuing our stroll down San Vicente, the status of Green Hollow Square remains up in the air. At some point, something’s got to give. All the pros and cons have been well stated by now; it’s time for resolution.
Heading toward the Country Mart, Pulp & Hide just left Brentwood, but is reopening in the Palisades. A new clothing store called Scoop NYC on 26th Street looks very nice. The Country Mart itself appears stronger than ever.
So it’s a mixed bag. Several places are closed and more keep closing. But we have some newcomers willing to fill the void. Some landlords are taking action to spiff up the neighborhood. We’re in the middle of a transition, it seems.
Let’s hope the economy really is picking up and that we’ll soon see the arrival of several new businesses that will make Brentwood the vibrant place it ought to be. A strong and interesting mix of local businesses gives us all more reason to shop close to home. If something is missing, Brentwoodians are forced to go elsewhere to find it.
I personally think Brentwood needs a very casual, inexpensive and family-friendly gathering place (like long-gone Regular Jon’s); a local brew-pub would be nice; a Mexican restaurant along the lines of El Cholo would do well, in my opinion â€“ as would a fish restaurant.
Those are my ideas. What are yours? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s get a dialogue going. Maybe we can fill some of these empty spaces with something other than nail salons.