The Block Party Isn’t Closing. Maybe.

The Block PartyThe 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.


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El Futuro
Guest
El Futuro

I only stay at a parking meter for 2 hours max. If I were to stay someplace longer I would park in a garage. But no need. You must be referring to the stack of signs from LA. This is the city of west Hollywood. Businesses are actually getting more business now because more people can park. Blaming meters for slow business is not looking at the real problem. Yes turning your wheels is the easiest thing to do and part of the driving test. Even if there were no signs requiring it you should still do it. Safety first.

DJK
Guest

So you’re a resident — but you’re going out to move your car every two hours? I don’t buy it. I think you’re a sock account from City Hall making excuses. I’m referring to the stack of signs right here in the City of West Hollywood, or are you going to do what City Council does and pretend I’m not seeing what I’m seeing with my own two eyes. There’s poles all over the City with 3 and 4 different parking signs on them for residents and visitors to try to decipher. Are you really going to sit here and… Read more »

El Futuro
Guest
El Futuro

Parking at night is easier now that meters have been extended. I read signs so I haven’t gotten a ticket in years. The signs are very clear. But as a resident I like to walk to many places. It’s good exercise. I prefer safety over assuming that someone else has maintained their brakes.

But that’s just me.

DK Jamaal
Guest

Hmm, that’s interesting. You’re a resident and you’re parking at meters? What, are you running to your car every hour or two to feed them money due to the extended hours? I guess some people have a different idea of clarity than most. West Hollywood’s parking signs are most definitely not clear. Four signs stacked one on top of the other with different parameters for different days — I have to routinely leave guests to go down and explain the signage to newly arriving guests. I shudder to think how an aging, elderly person manages to interpret the parking signs.… Read more »

DJK
Guest

The number one issue in the next City Council meeting needs to be how the greed and corruption of John Duran, Abbe Land, John D’Amico, John Heilman, and Jeff Prang caused them to extend meter hours over the objections of West Hollywood residents, resulting into lost business and lost jobs because nobody wants to deal with the hassle of trying to park in West Hollywood anymore. They were warned, but they were only concerned about personal gain off the backs of struggling WeHo residents. Confusing parking signs stacked one on top of the other all in the name of revenue… Read more »

Jon Ponder
Guest

As a longtime resident, I’m generally not in favor of the extended time on the parking meters, especially on Sundays, but it’s odd that now that the meter time has been extended, it’s still almost impossible to find a parking space, even during the day, and yet business is down. What are all those people doing who park here during the day? If there are metrics that prove retail sales around town have slumped since the hours were extended, the extended hours need to go ASAP. Oh, and @Kathy, fwiw, the Block Party building once housed a gay bookstore, A… Read more »

Kathy T of BMP T-Shirts
Guest

Not another one!?! Please say it isn’t so! On the East coast, the world’s oldest Gay & Lesbian bookstore, Giovanni’s Room, PA will be closing by the end of this month. Rainbows & Triangles in NYC closed in March. It is so sad and frightening that we are losing the places that connect us as a community. Mr. Block we wish you all the best at your city counsel run and we hope you find a way to keep Block Party going!

kayaytche
Guest
kayaytche

Rob – are you saying that the sober community doesn’t need/want more choice?

Rob Bergstein
Guest
Rob Bergstein

First let me clarify by saying that I do not speak for the entire sober community, but only from my life & viewpoint as a 26+ year clean/sober man. From my viewpoint, the sober community in West Hollywood is well accepted, with open arms, into existing businesses & I/we feel totally comfortable in having a coffee and socializing with friends in the existing businesses. I don’t think we need a space that would set us separate and apart strictly for the sober community. If Larry wants to open a coffee house, more power to him, but it could be marketed… Read more »

Rob Bergstein
Guest
Rob Bergstein

Larry,I’m sure your intentions are good, but the sober community already has the West Hollywood Recovery Center for sober people to hang out in; there are also meetings at the Log Cabin & at various times, the local clubs have thrown sober t-dances. Add in that the sober community already hangs out at the Starbuck & the Yoghurt Stop before & after meetings and well, you get the general idea.

Larry Block
Guest

@ luca, agreed, i see more from here than can be expressed. please send me an email so we might meet up…. larry@ymla.com

luca d
Guest
luca d

larry, the block party was more interesting and sexy when hugo worked there, no so much anymore. 🙂 that aside, i hope that you will give thought to how we might make west hollywood more gay business friendly. the diversity of weho should not be just about appearance, but ideas and solutions. if you are about flags and colorful crosswalks, and not responsive to jobs, accessibility to power, and transparency, then i can’t support you. 10 years from now, the city we know, will no longer exist. do you see what’s happening. your observation about daytime commerce is spot on,… Read more »

Larry Block
Guest

Unexpected Article. Too many calls tonight. Here’s the bottom line. a- Im a real estate agent before opening the store. Lost my eye in a surgery and could not drive a car. Opened the store and I love it, the people, the community, — but being open 7days a week till 2am to pay the rent, and stay alive, .. well .. retail is a tough sport. b- The lease has been extended for 5 years – pursuant to the increase in certain common charges. c- I have signed NO listing agreement. A friend is a commercial agent and I… Read more »

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

Funny no mention of the hideous parking situation that now exists in this town. They keep extending the meter hours and then wonder why business falls off. Now I hear they want to do valet parking behind the Gold Coast and Out of the Closet. So many of my friends have told me within the last few months that they avoid Weho entirely now because the parking situation is a nightmare. Way to encourage business!