BROADWAY — Extending the pedestrian friendly feel of the Third Street Promenade into surrounding parts of Downtown Santa Monica has been a longtime goal for planners and retailers alike.
Now, with a couple of new sidewalk shops expected to open this month and next on Broadway between Fourth Street and Santa Monica Place, the vision is coming to life, albeit on a very small scale.
Located on the south side of the street at the foot of Parking Structure 7, the new retail spaces are only about 600 square feet each, but they could have a big impact in enlivening a formerly dull stretch.
“I think they will definitely attract a lot of shoppers,” said Gary Jemelian, who plans to open two tourist and traveler oriented stores in the spaces. “It will extend foot traffic onto that side of the street that used to be dark.”
The first, which will be called simply “The Shop,” is expected to open by Thanksgiving and will carry travel gear and accessories for personal electronic devices. It’s aimed mainly at the travelers who flock to Downtown to see the sights, but in an increasingly plugged-in world, Jemelian hopes locals will find it a convenient stop for their cell phone, iPod and laptop needs as well.
A Malibu resident who operated a candle shop at the old Santa Monica Place, Jemelian expects to open “Malibu J’s,” a convenience store like the ones typically found in airport terminals, by Christmas.
Macerich Co., which owns Santa Monica Place, is yet to announce a tenant for the third space located on the block.
In addition to the new shops, the area around the mall could be getting another new-to-Santa Monica concept in the form a “bike station” — basically bicycle storage center and locker room aimed at promoting bike commuting.
The idea is to provide bike riders with a safe storage place and a way to clean up before going to work.
Don Patterson, Santa Monica’s business and revenue operations manager, said City Hall expects to begin soliciting bids for the project, slated for the corner of Colorado Avenue and Second Street, within the next two months.
“This facility will help the city further its goal to be a bicycle friendly community,” he said.
If the concept gains traction, he added, it could become a model for similar bike stations at other Downtown locations.