We helped Madison Marquette create a destination

Real Estate developer Madison Marquette owns and manages over 23 million square feet of retail real estate, throughout the United States. In 2008 they purchased eleven buildings on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles’ Fairfax District.


When the recession put a damper on the real estate market, their plans for the project needed to change quickly, so they enlisted Distill to design a brand and experience for the property. Today it is one of the top retail districts in Los Angeles.

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At the start of our engagement the property was just 11 empty buildings on a block in Los Angeles. The site of a former Edsel dealership and the Continental Graphics print shop, the neighborhood was once the center of the Design District.

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Using a mix of design and branding, we built on that history, helping transform District La Brea into a retail destinations With tenants like Gant, Steven Alan, Bonobos, Undefeated, and Will.i.am’s popup, The Future.


“La Brea seemed a little lost for a while. But now? There’s a shared sensibility, and it’s coming back strong.” –The Los Angeles Times



“La Brea is quickly becoming one of the most creative shopping destinations in Los Angeles. The neighborhood redevelopment project has helped inspire several new stores to open their doors on the extra-large boulevard, revitalizing the blocks between Beverly Boulevard and 2nd Street.” – Coolhunting.com

How did we make this transformation happen?


We began by conducting research with LA shoppers to understand the neighborhood, and the local retail scene as a whole. We studied retail experiences in Monterrey Mexico, New York City, and San Francisco as well. From that research we created an experience blueprint that outlined the kind of tenants District La Brea should seek out, and the services, and experiences that would make it a unique retail destination.






As the remodeling at La Brea began, we commissioned artist Aaron De La Cruz to paint construction walls. Those walls also featured a story we crafted about the history, and future of the property. De La Cruz’s artwork at La Brea was featured on a number of blogs, and set the location as a destination for street art.



When the remodel was complete, artist Shepard Fairey painted a mural covering the whole facade of the building. Soon after the property was 100% leased.


“The area began to perk up in 2012, driven in part by Madison Marquette, a Washington, D.C. real estate company that invested in 11 mostly vacant industrial buildings and, in a bid to lure retailers, built individual storefronts in different styles. Today, the area has more than a dozen trendy new restaurants and boutiques selling home goods and fashions from up-and-coming designers. It’s one of the hippest drags in town.” –The New York Times


In addition to designing the District La Brea experience, we developed key communication tools to launch the brand including the brand identity, their website, leasing collateral, property signage, and environmental graphics.





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