The Block Party isn’t closing. Maybe. The store in West Hollywood’s Boystown that has carried a banner proclaiming it as “the gayest store on earth” is listed for sale on Loopnet, an online commercial real estate directory.
The ad lists the 1,680 square foot store for sale for $195,000. It includes this warning: “EMPLOYEES ARE NOT AWARE OF SALE DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS.”
Block said he hasn’t actually decided whether to sell the store, which is at 8853 Santa Monica Blvd. near Larrabee. He noted that his lease runs for another four and a half months.
But Block, who has announced his candidacy for a seat on the West Hollywood City Council in the March 2015 election, said he thinks the store will be a distraction to his campaign. Despite that, he said he wants to keep the store open through the campaign. “I don’t want to own the store after that. ”
Among the options Block is exploring is bringing in a partner who will manage the business, converting the space into a collection of independent boutiques that will manage themselves and renovating the space substantially so that he can create a beverage area in front for sober people. An obstacle to that is the building’s historic designation, which will make reconstruction difficult. And another option is getting out of the business entirely. “The question is wanting to stay there or not stay there,” he said. “I’ve been going back and forth to find out how much will it cost to stay here. ”
Block said that business in Boystown has been on the decline. That area, which stretches along Santa Monica Boulevard from San Vicente to Robertson, is called Boystown because of its collection of restaurants, bars and shops that market themselves to gay men.
Block said a major issue for him and other Boystown retailers is the decline in daytime foot traffic. “At night time business has doubled,” he said. “But real shopper is during the day. He buys a pair of $60 shorts and a shirt. The night time shopper buys a pack of cigarettes and $9.99 underwear.
Block said another apparel retailer nearby told him that he used to gross $50,000 in sales during each day of the annual three-day LA Pride event, which is staged along Santa Monica Boulevard in June. Now he grosses $4,000.
If he decides to and is able to proceed with plans to build the sober area, Block said the store will be closed from January through March for construction.
“Everything is on the table,” he said.