Tenant Moves Into Former Thelma Todd Sidewalk Cafe Space

Castellammare Residents Express Parking Concerns


A tenant has moved into the Castellammare property that once housed actress Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Cafe and sat empty for years at 17575 Pacific Coast Highway this month.

The actress’ still-mysterious death in 1935 at the age of 29 garnered the property, built in 1928, fame—inviting interest, concern and wild speculation throughout the years the building sat empty.

The space is now home to The Many, a full-service advertising agency, which occupies the entire building.

“Hayman Properties bought the building from the former owners, and then they upgraded the building to be remarkable, with an emphasis on honoring its memory and legacy,” CBRE West LA office Executive Vice President Blake Mirkin, who held the listing, said.

The 16,000-square-foot property was sold for $6 million in 2015, according to records. PCH Building CP, LLC, the owner on record, is an entity affiliated with Hayman Properties, a Brentwood-based real estate investment and management company.

Mirkin shared that the redevelopment that took place was “quite special,” including exterior space, landscape and hardscape features, and various levels of seating and workspace. The property, now called Vibe Surfside, includes several water features, a fire pit and a pizza oven.

The property represented a one-of-a-kind redevelopment opportunity, according to Hayman Properties’ website. The space continues to be a “true icon of the Los Angeles Pacific Coast landscape.”

With the new tenant moving into the neighborhood, residents in Castellammare have concerns over parking.

Robert Hayman, the developer, spoke with residents of Lecco Lane and Porto Marina Way in December 2018 regarding proposed plans for parking, according to Palisadian Stephen Ujlaki.

Ujlaki explained that Hayman proposed parking for new tenants by sharing an area used by Caltrans as a staging area on PCH located just north of Porto Marina Way—a suggestion posted on a Vibe Surfside website.

In February 2019, a representative from the Department of Transportation reported in a letter obtained by the Post that, to date, Caltrans had not received a formal request for a lease agreement or sale transaction of the lot and that preserving the property for staging use “is in the best interest of the state.”

The Many uses a valet system for parking vehicles.

“We really tried to avoid having 100 employees and guests searching for parking in the neighborhood, so we selected the valet option to put as little strain on the public parking situation as possible,” The Many Founding Partner Jens Stoelken explained. “Cars are taken over to Los Liones away from the neighborhood.”

Stoelken added that the company also has a policy to cover Uber and public transportation for employees to limit the number of cars that are valeted.

“We’re thrilled to have completed this historic revitalization of a century-old community asset,” said Jamarah Hayner, project spokesperson. “During our neighborhood outreach events as well as community conversations over the last year, we’ve asked questions, shared ideas and explored a range of solutions pertaining to building’s parking.

“Our goal is to preserve neighborhood and beach-goer parking by pursuing the most practical and least impactful parking and access to the building for both the tenants and the community. We have explored multiple potential alternatives in the vicinity, some of which we are now using, while maintaining neighborhood safety and access.”

Ujlaki said that the primary concern of Palisades residents is about safety and expressed hope that Hayman Properties will choose to use under-utilized existing paid parking lots in the area for the tenants.

“We hope with enough opposition, Hayman will do the smart thing,” Ujlaki concluded.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a response from the project spokesperson.