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Friday, Jun 9, 2023

CRA Taking Action on Vacant Panorama City Tower

The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency later this month will take the first step in forcing the renovation of a long-languishing high rise tower and its surrounding property in Panorama City. The CRA plans to notify its board on December 16 that the agency in January will issue requests for proposals to redevelop the property, a four-acre site on Van Nuys Boulevard south of Roscoe Boulevard. The building has been owned by a private investor since the Northridge Earthquake, when speculators picked up quake-damaged properties for a song, in many cases a third the cost of similar properties in other areas of the San Fernando Valley. In the years since the earthquake, other properties in the area were acquired by new owners and renovated. But the owner of the tower, which was yellow-tagged in the Earthquake, has made no moves to renovate the property. A vacant eye-sore in the center of Panorama City’s commercial district, the tower has drawn the ire of the community for years, and CRA officials earlier this year began targeting the property. “We’re going to start a process to see what we can do to move the owner off ground zero on that,” said Dick D’Amico, CRA project manager for the Northeast Valley. “We will send him a statement of interest to develop the property and if he responds, we will take a look at that and look at it separately and alongside other requests from developers who respond to the RFP.” If the current owner does not respond with an alternate proposal or if the agency chooses another proposal, the CRA would begin negotiations to acquire the property by virtue of its powers of eminent domain. Neiman’s Moving In Need a $650 Burberry stroller? Got a hankering for a Vivienne Tam or Anna Sui? How about a set of $700 David Yurman cuff links? Items like these will be a short drive away for most Valleyites now that Neiman Marcus is moving forward with a store in the Westfield Shoppingtown Topanga mall in Canoga Park. As reported here more than a year ago, Westfield has announced plans for a $300-million expansion of the Topanga center to include a 120,000 square foot Neiman Marcus store slated to open in spring of 2008. Neiman Marcus will join an expanded, 205,000-square-foot Nordstrom which will get its own three-level building, another as yet unnamed anchor, another 100-odd specialty stores and the Robinsons-May, Sears and other specialty stores that already operate in the center, giving Shoppingtown Topanga an assortment that spans nearly every price range and style. “It’s basically one-stop shopping for everybody,” said Richard Green, vice chairman of Westfield Group’s U.S. operations. “If you look around the world, the malls of the future are going to have this kind of dimension of shopping because sites are hard to find and the convenience need to the consumer is critically important.” Last April the Business Journal reported that Westfield, along with several other developers were vying for Neiman Marcus, among the most successful of tony specialty chains that ended its last fiscal year with a 14.4 percent sales increase to $3.5 billion. Westfield promoted a write-in campaign to help persuade the retailer to locate at the center, and drew about 10,000 letters. But ultimately the decision more likely came down to the demographics of the West Valley. Average income for Shoppingtown Topanga customers is about $83,000 and the figure goes higher at the western end of the trading area. That’s a far cry from the area’s demographics even 10 years ago, when other upscale specialty retailers tried unsuccessfully to open branches in the West Valley. “Just look at the growth level,” said Green. “Look at what’s happened in Thousand Oaks, Sherwood, Agoura Hills, Hidden Hills. It’s a totally different population base.” Eventually, Westfield will connect its Topanga center to Shoppingtown Promenade next door, but Green said no time frame has yet been set for the work. Fast Times at Lee Lee & Associates-LA North/Ventura has been tapped to represent Kahala Corp. exclusively in its expansion efforts. The brokerage will assist the company, which operates Surf City Squeeze, Great Steak & Potato, Rollerz, TacoTime and other fast-food operations, in a plan to open more than 1,000 units in the next three years. The properties are typically based in shopping centers. Lee will work with its 23 national offices to identify new sites for the company, said Duncan Lemmon, who will be spearheading the leasing effort. The company currently operates seven restaurant concepts with a total of 1,000 outlets worldwide, and it has been opening stores at the rate of about 40 a month. Adler on a Spree Adler Realty Investments in Woodland Hills has been especially busy of late, having transacted more than $40 million worth of deals in recent weeks. The private investment company acquired a 107,352-square-foot portfolio of office buildings in Orange for $6.45 million; a 13,760-square-foot retail building in L.A. for $4.8 million; 323,607-square-foot office building in Phoenix for $16.8 million; and two industrial buildings totaling 174,762 square feet in San Antonio for $3.95 million. The company also sold a 60,000-square-foot office complex in Covina for $8.5 million. Adler also acquired a 19.5 acre site in Santa Clarita in partnership with Fairway Commercial Partners and Metropolitan Development. The land, which is zoned for industrial use, will be rezoned for residential development. The company did not disclose the purchase price. Adler’s real estate portfolio includes more than 1.6 million square feet of space in California, Arizona and Texas. Senior reporter Shelly Garcia can be reached at (818) 316-3123

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