Canadian skincare company Formula Fig has signed a 1,000-square-foot lease in Culver City in a time of slow recovery for L.A.’s retail market.
It is Formula Fig’s second store in the nation; its other U.S.-based store is in West Hollywood.
The company was founded by Jessica Walsh and Anita Chan in 2019 and already has six locations.
“I always wanted to come to Los Angeles,” Walsh, the company’s chief executive, said. “I love what the city offers. Culturally it’s very exciting and there’s a lot of newness and focus on health and wellness.”
Formula Fig offers high-tech facials and injectables in addition to selling skincare products. It also offers memberships.
Formula Fig’s Culver City lease is for The Culver Steps, a 122,000-square-foot office and retail development at 9300 Culver Blvd. The store will open by the end of the year.
Walsh said the company liked the location because Formula Fig was interested in “creating communities” and looked at tenancies in the area.
Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.’s Maureen Hawley, Devin Klein, Tony Morales and Houman Mahboubi represented Formula Fig in the lease. Kennedy Wilson Brokerage’s Lee Shapiro and Christine Deschaine represented the landlord, Culver City-based Hackman Capital Partners.
Klein said there were a few factors that were initially a concern, such as nearby areas being blocked off and loading needing to be done out of the front of the building.
“There were a number of factors that were keeping them away, and then they finally came around,” he said.
Walsh said in the end it was the area’s strong tenants and location, as well as the challenge of working in an unusual space, that drew her to the area.
Walsh said Formula Fig is looking to expand in California and open four more locations next year.
“We like to cluster,” she said.
Klein said the company was “looking in prime markets” for other locations.
The retail market in L.A. County showed some signs of recovery in the first quarter of the year, but it was slow going, according to a report from NAI Capital Commercial.
Some retail storefronts put on the market during the pandemic have since been occupied, but the amount of vacant square footage on the market was 17.5 million square feet during the first quarter, up more than 537,000 square feet over the end of last year. Occupancy levels, according to NAI Capital, are still 3 million square feet shy of the first quarter of 2020. The vacancy rate, meanwhile, is 5.5%, the same as it was during the Great Recession. Available sublease space has also increased.
Klein said there was “no sugar coating what’s going on right now … there’s obviously a lot of challenges,” but added that high-street retail was still doing well as retail tenants still want to be in areas like Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Culver City.
“There’s very little inventory in Culver City right now. It’s a prime pocket,” he said.
“The prime pockets are, if not at full occupancy they’re almost close, starting with Culver Steps, this was the last space to be leased … that project has started to become very high in demand,” he added.