Platform's developers want to reinvent the mall

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Platform in Culver City. Photo by Frances Anderton.

At the intersections of Venice, Washington and National Boulevards just adjacent to the Metro Expo Line is a bite-size mall called Platform that is emblematic of the changes taking place in Culver City.

The four-acre complex of boutiques and fancy eateries, opened in 2016 and developed by David Fishbein and Joseph Miller of Runyon Group, is not anchored by a Macy’s or Nordstroms. It sits on the site of a car dealership that was once owned by Miller’s family. Now it is aimed at train riders as much as drivers.

Boutique stores like Shades of Grey, Rabbit Ladders, Aesop and Tom Dixon are there; along with Sweetgreen, Loqui, Blue Bottle and a Soulcycle. The mix is kept dynamic with pop-ups and street fairs. And people are encouraged to hang out in outdoor seating areas amidst luscious greenery by design firm Elysian Landscapes.

As online delivery services suck the life from malls and main street retail, Fishbein and Miller say brick and mortar can still work -- if you do it differently, with carefully selected one-off stores and experiences that make it worth getting off the couch.

Platform is the start of a bigger complex. Runyon Group has started construction on a much larger building just west of Platform. They were creative consultants and leasing agents at the new ROW DTLA, on the site of the onetime L.A. Terminal Market.

DnA talks to David Fishbein and Joseph Miller about what drew the pair to development, why they believe they can make main street retail work, and how Platform reflects a changing Culver City.