Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Larchmont Mercantile Coming to Larchmont

Image of Christina Development’s proposed new facade for the former Lipson Building at 126-148 N. Larchmont Blvd.

The new owners of the former Lipson Building at 126-148 N. Larchmont Blvd., which currently houses Landis Gifts & Stationery, Landis Labyrinth Toys, Chevalier’s Books, Lipson Plumbing, and several other long-standing businesses, are proposing to transform the building into the “Larchmont Mercantile.”

“We want to get the building back to its original glory,” Liza Killian, Director of Marketing at Christina Development told the Buzz.  “We are ripping off the canopies, sprucing it up and doing repairs and maintenance of the building facade that needs a little love.”

Malibu-based Christina Development purchased the building 18 months ago from the estate of Charlotte Lipson, the daughter of Larchmont’s founder Julius LaBonte, for $23.5 million. Since the acquisition, there has much speculation about the fate of the current tenants and plans for the building’s future.

According to Killian, a third-generation resident of Hancock Park, whose stepfather, Larry Taylor, is President of Christina, the plan is to repair, maintain and improve the 14 storefronts as spaces become vacant. Currently there is one empty space at 146 N. Larchmont, which was vacated earlier this year when owner Astgik Ousepian closed her eclectic clothing boutique Bonne Chance after more than twenty years in business.  There is also a specific Larchmont Preservation Ordinance, enacted in 2009, which places some height and frontage restrictions on the property (as well as others in the Larchmont business district).

“Our family plans to be long-term owners of the property,” said Killian. “We plan to continue to improve the building with a very light touch. There’s nothing crazy going on, we are not adding anything, not changing any walls, and the ceiling heights will stay as they are today. We are thrilled to be doing something wonderful with this building.”

We contacted Killian after we saw a brochure marketing the property to prospective retail tenants, to find out if the current tenants are planning to stay in the building.

Killian said all the tenants are welcome to stay, but she noted that there are a number of vacant spaces on the street, which could provide other options. She couldn’t provide any information on rental rates. We understand all the remaining leases at 126-148 are scheduled to expire in December, but Killian told us she was not aware of that, nor could she provide any details on which tenants may have already negotiated leases to stay.

Killian could not provide a time frame for when the work would be begin, except to say they would be working on spaces as they became vacant.  She confirmed that Christina has been working on plans to restore the building for some time, but given the current pandemic environment that has shuttered almost all retail stores, Killian said they waiting to see what happens.

“We are measuring everything out and taking everything into to consideration, given all the things that are going on…but it is our high hope that we are able to do this,” said Killian.

Image from marketing brochure promoting the Larchmont Mercantile at 126-148 N. Larchmont Blvd.
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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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  1. While I am pleased to see that the brick Lipson Bldg is going to be restored to its former glory, I am puzzled why they thought corrugated cladding for the flanking storefronts was appropriate for the street. Larchmont Blvd is not a downtown industrial district, it is a neighborhood main street. Why not use the Lipson Bldg as a starting point for the choice of materials for the storefronts such as I don’t know….BRICK? Also while the awnings are dated and have been badly maintained, they did provide much needed afternoon shade. The new industrial awnings look narrower and glare from the metal cladding will most likely generate heat. This is not among Gensler’s most neighborhood friendly designs, dark, minimalist, industrial and dare I say depressing.

    • I agree with Brian…so many architects (such as huge international firms) just design for the sake
      of coming up with something new, many are not restoration people or preservation people as
      evidenced by these drawings. And many are not from the neighborhood or invested in it…..
      the charm is what people treasure on Larchmont and the history at least on the outside of the these buildings. These storefronts as they have drawn them could be anywhere in the world as they are
      so generic in their presentation.

  2. how is that look, a former glory? GENERIC leave as is and keep businesses we will use. No more coffee, no more makeup/ skin stuff.

  3. Watching these developers kick out my beloved neighborhood businesses and replace the area with generic ugly storefronts is so incredibly sad. I won’t be shopping at whatever replaces Landis or Chevaliers. The “vacant spots” on the street are apparently twice the rent. And during a pandemic? When businesses can already barely pay their employees, let alone an increased rent and the money it would take to move/redesign the space. Just sad that corporate developers do whatever it takes to bring in more money for themselves.

  4. The way this developer has treated the occupants of existing businesses is shameful. I personally will never shop at any of the new businesses taking over — I’m so tired and sick of the greed of these people.


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