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Quick Shutter for Sandella's on 7th

By David Markland
Published: Wednesday, November 03, 2010, at 08:53AM
7th Street between Olive and Grand David Markland

Sandella's closed last month in the Mandel Lofts, just over a year after opening.

Robin Kirksey shuttered Sandella’s last month after only a year in business. While lunchtime kept him busy, Kirksey said foot traffic dropped steeply in the evening and on weekends. “There are not enough residents here yet,” he said.

Real estate broker Chris Ortman, now tasked with finding a new lessor for the space, disputed this, pointing out that Subway, another sandwich shop two doors down, is thriving, and that if you walk by Bottega Louie on any evening you will rarely see an open seat.

Prospective lessors may be deterred by some of the location’s challenges. The space lacks a liquor permit, exhaust system and a full kitchen set up, all which would require a sizeable investment, and any additional renovations would likely require the owner to add new bathrooms to keep the space ADA compliant.

Regardless, Ortman believes that when Mas Malo, an offshoot of Silverlake’s popular Malo Mexican restaurant, opens in the space below Seven Grand later this month, the marketing for it will be so big that Sandella’s will be snapped up soon after.

“The whole area is in demand,” he says, saying that between Grand and Hope there is only one vacancy, and notes that there have been six new leases in the last six months, in spite of a bad economy.

Among them is the highly acclaimed Sugarfish, which opened two weeks ago, and K.K. Woody, a snack eatery opened in early October.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, a chain that “is very selective of their locations,” says Ottman, will open later this month at the corner of Grand and 7th, a block down from where the Mas Malo will be.

Of the remaining open storefronts, Ortman says due to the owners unwillingness to lease or sell, the Giannini Building remains vacant, and that the Okada Building is hoping to lease a 10,000 square foot space for $25,000 per month, which he believes is out of range in this economy.

But with the current offerings, and additional openings set for the near future, he says, “I’m 100% confident in calling 7th Street ‘Restaurant Row.’”

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