Venice Businesses Closing Soon or Closed: The G2 Gallery, Brennan’s, Abbot’s Habit, NextSpace Venice, Venice Office Park & MANY More. When will it END?

Venice businesses have been falling like flies – or shall it be said snapped up? It’s no secret that successful Venice startup recently gone public, Snapchat (Snap Inc.) is gobbling up Venice properties  at an alarming rate in the past three years, in addition to taking over leases that have left businesses scrambling for new locations. Part of the fallout is artists and other residents losing their studios and homes and the destruction of the culture and fabric of the community.

While it’s not new at this point and Snap can’t be blamed for it all; the tech wave that gave way to Venice being dubbed, “Silicon Beach” started late 2011, early 2012 when Google setup shop. Other tech companies followed. While Snap started in Venice in a beach bungalow known by locals as the “Jim Morrison” or “Charlie Chaplin” house in 2013,  they have purchased numerous buildings,  in addition to leased property in Venice since that time. What’s the fallout? Residents, artists and small business owners losing leases and getting kicked out  of Venice.

For example, the former Venice office park bungalows (as they were commonly known), located at Venice Bl. just east of Abbot Kinney Bl housed numerous small businesses such as Turning Point Pilates (relocated in Venice), Tilapazola Restaurant (closed), Stephanie Johnson and others got their walking papers as a result of Snapchat’s purchase of the complex. NextSpace Venice coworking was suddenly closed in December of 2016,  as a result of Snapchat taking over the lease (after it was quadrupled); where our office was located. Numerous startups and entrepreneurial businesses were forced to find a new locations asap.

While locating in Venice is one thing, being a catalyst of a mass exodus in the community that has created a huge divide in Venice takes it to another level! It’s well past due for Snapchat to be a responsible part of the community, which extends well beyond efforts made to date; namely contributing to a restoration fund for the Venice Veteran’s Wall, (see the AKFF post on Veteran’s Wall restoration). That’s all good, however, it’s time to follow the lead of other tech companies that have moved to Playa Vista after gaining scale; it’s a move that would be welcomed by many in the Venice community and would be considered as a big contribution to the Venice community.

It’s time to start paying it forward – by giving what was formerly spaces for artists and creatives back  to them in some form, for example, starting a program where artists and creatives that lost their spaces can utilize spaces for free.  If you love the community, set it FREE!

Janet Gervers,
Founder & Editor
Abbot Kinney First Fridays