As the Dodgers mire through the dog days of summer, sports collector Gary Cypres is trying to ignite a passion for baseball among younger generations.

Born and raised in the Bronx near Yankee stadium, Cypres was hard-wired from an early age to become fascinated with the sport.

That fixation has only gotten stronger over the last 30 years, as he has amassed a collection of more than 10,000 pieces of memorabilia that chart the history of America’s pastime from the birth of the Negro Leagues to the modern day and everything in between. His treasure trove of artifacts, purchased at auctions, are on display at the Sports Museum of Los Angeles, which was re-opened last month at the corner of Main Street and Washington Boulevard. Cypres launched the museum in 2009 but closed it three months later due to a lack of visitors.

The baseball junkie is employing business lessons learned from a recent stint running a baseball exhibition at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library that drew 185,000 attendees.

“What that told me is that there’s a demand,” he said. “It also helped me understand a bit more about advertisement and how to approach an audience.”

Cypres has invested in new signage and taken out television ads to publicize the museum, which features an ultra-rare Honus Wagner trading card as well as the Dodgers’ 1981 World Series trophy. Rotating seasonal exhibits will also feature items from his L.A. Rams collection as well as an exhibit chronicling the career of Babe Ruth.

“Scarcity creates value, it also lends a historical importance to these items,” said Cypres. “It also helps people understand the course of baseball’s journey.”

The museum is open to the public on weekends. Tickets cost $15 for adults; $12 for seniors and students, and $9 for kids between the ages of 5-12.

All in a Row

Row DTLA, a planned grouping of shops, restaurants, and offices set inside a produce wholesale market, is beginning to take shape as new leases lock into place. Co-working firm Real Office Centers recently inked a 15-year, 27,000-square-foot deal. The Santa Monica-based company operates a dozen sites around Southern California and Hawaii, including two in Santa Monica. Chief Executive Ron McElroy said the downtown site offers the chance to create spacious work areas and lounges, including a coffee bar serving sandwiches and salads. ROC will also focus on fostering connections among clients, guests, investors, and staff. The emphasis will be on “creative talent,” spanning industries as diverse as fashion, social media, and alternative energy.

On the retail front, high-end clothing retailer Bodega of Boston signed a 10-year lease. Its 8,000-square-foot-store will be its second location. Home furnishings store A+R announced earlier this year that it planned to take 6,800 square feet with a 450-square-foot patio, also in a 10-year lease.

The only new tenant operating so far is Smorgasburg, a Brooklyn-born food and design market operating in the courtyard on Sundays, which launched in June. Plans call for up to 100 retailers, 15 restaurants, several art galleries, and expansive office space. Owners Atlas Capital Group, Square Mile Capital Management, and USAA Real Estate Co. plan to keep part of the site as a functioning produce market.

Soaking Up Rays

There are all sorts of new apartment complexes popping up in downtown Los Angeles, but Hanover Co. executives are going after a niche tenant market with the firm’s new building on Olympic Boulevard and Olive Street, which is partially solar powered.

“It was something we have been tossing around internally for a while,” said Ryan Hamilton, a development partner at the Houston-based real estate development and property management company. “Is there resident interest for these enhanced sustainable features in these projects?”

Hanover installed and connected solar panels to 20 of the apartment building’s 263 units. Those solar-powered units also come with LED lighting, occupancy sensors, argon glass insolated windows, dual-flush toilets, reclaimed wood flooring, and recycled glass countertops.

“The photovoltaic system was designed to be net zero over a 12-month period,” said Hamilton, noting that the apartments pull from the electrical grid in the winter and sell back electricity in the summer. “We have monitoring software so that the residents can visually track via a bar graph how much energy their array is generating.”

Hanover is hoping that the sustainable units will attract environmentally conscious tenants who are willing to pay a slight premium on rent. The building is about 40 percent leased since opening in March, according to Hamilton.

Staff reporters Carter Stoddard, Daina Beth Solomon, and Garrett Reim contributed to this column. #DTLA is compiled by Managing Editor Omar Shamout. He can be reached at

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