A flurry of activity has swept across Rodeo Drive, and it’s not the paparazzi. Retailers are sprucing up and even expanding their spaces, and new tenants are moving in.

Jay Luchs, executive vice president of West L.A.-based CBRE Group Inc. and a real estate broker for the majority of the properties on Rodeo, said a group of three or four retailers has been vying for some of the last space available.

“Rodeo Drive is very tight right now,” he said. “There’s a lack of availability right now, in part because for whatever reason, the street didn’t suffer much in the downturn of the economy.”

In fact, a handful of tenants are putting money into renovating their spaces, including Christian Dior, Hermes, Van Cleef & Arpels, Prada and Roberto Cavalli. Both David Yurman and Louis Vuitton are doubling the size of their stores.

Others are moving in. Luxury accessories retailer Gearys Beverly Hills, an authorized dealer of Rolex timepieces and other luxury brands, was scheduled to open a Rolex boutique on Rodeo on June 17. The 1,200-square-foot store was designed by the Rolex team in Geneva, Switzerland, but is wholly owned and operated by Gearys. The boutique will replace Valentino at 360 N. Rodeo.

High-end French fashion company Céline signed a lease in spring for space at 319 N. Rodeo. The 3,100-square-foot space is central on the street, between Miu Miu and Mont Blanc. Céline has products for sale in stores in New York and Miami, but this will be the company’s second branded boutique in the United States. The company is owned by LVMH and is building out the space, which could take several months. Luchs said he expects the store to open sometime around the end of the year.

Italian knitwear label Missoni closed its doors at 469 N. Rodeo at the end of May. The elaborate store, with its woven aluminum façade, was open only two years before ending its run on the high-end street.

Targeting Hollywood

Target Corp. has plans for another location in Los Angeles. The Minneapolis retailer is seeking public input on its plans to build a big-box store in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue, just east of the Hollywood (101) Freeway. Target proposes building a 164,000-square-foot store in place of an existing 60,000-square-foot strip mall that once included retailers such as CVS and Farm Fresh Ranch Market. The proposed development also includes construction of about 30,000 square feet of additional retail and restaurant space for other companies. The nearest existing Target store is almost three miles away on Santa Monica Boulevard at La Brea Avenue.

Target is requesting several specific plan amendments so that it, for example, can build 50 feet higher than currently allowed. The request could go to the central L.A.-area Planning Commission in August and for City Council approval after that.

Target will also open a smaller version of its store – a City Target – this fall at the downtown L.A. retail development Fig at 7th.

Revolving Doors

Commerce denim apparel company Joe’s Jeans Inc. announced June 4 that it has signed a lease to open its 24th retail store at the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. The 1,400-square-foot boutique, which is expected to open its doors in early August, will feature the company’s denim and contemporary clothing lines for men, women and children, as well as accessories including shoes and handbags. … Armen Shirvanian, who owns Italian restaurant Mi Piace in Old Town Pasadena, will open a second restaurant – Towne Food & Drink – in downtown Los Angeles this summer. The 7,000-square-foot restaurant, on the ground floor of the Watermarke Tower at Flower and Ninth streets, will feature new American cuisine prepared by chefs Eric Hara and Ryan Morrison, and desserts by pastry chef Tamara Davis. … Makeup artists Gabriela Cardenas and Caron Lunde opened Heaven’s Makeup Bar in Burbank on June 9. … Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes opened an eighth restaurant – Bashi – on its oceanfront grounds June 6. The restaurant serves contemporary Asian cuisine prepared by chef Bruce Nguyen.

At Your Service

Deborah Benton, former chief operating officer for Santa Monica online shoe retailer ShoeDazzle.com Inc., stepped down to work for downtown L.A.-based online fashion retailer Nasty Gal, reported Sophia Amoruso, founder and chief executive of Nasty Gal.

Staff reporter Bethany Firnhaber can be reached at firnhaber@labusinessjournal.com or (323)549-5225, ext. 235.

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