About 20 years ago when I first worked in downtown Los Angeles, my office at Arthur Andersen was located across the street from the L.A. Public Library. There had been a fire in the library; the building was fairly damaged and the neighboring “park” had a tall fence around it. Overall, it was an unkempt area. There was talk that a new park and a restaurant were going to be built there, but this seemed such a distant prospect as to be unreal. In general, downtown was ailing, and from my perspective, it was not improving
Two decades later, lo and behold, the library has been restored, there’s a beautiful café and a lovely park next door. The city center is experiencing a dramatic revitalization and was immediately apparent when I recently took the 9th Annual Fall Downtown Los Angeles Program and Tour, a fascinating survey of new and renovated downtown properties that was offered by the Downtown Center Business Improvement District. From the retro offices at the Spring Arts Building, the luxurious apartments at the Orsini, to the pioneering shops along Seventh Street, it’s clear downtown is becoming a real destination.
This got me thinking: It didn’t happen all at once. As a young professional at Arthur Andersen, I didn’t have the perspective necessary to see that progress can, and more often than not does happen gradually. This holds as true for urban development as for professional services marketing and business development. Getting all your marketing pieces into place—your website, blog, newsletter—can seem as overwhelming at the outset as a blighted neighborhood. But one need only look at the property-by-property, block-by-block rejuvenation of downtown L.A. to see that if you take the process one step at a time, building upon what you’ve completed and remaining positive, the results can be pleasantly surprising.