Most of the 1,200-odd apartment units are no more than frames or designs on paper, but several enterprising businessmen aren’t wasting any time planning a night life for the residents they see coming to the NoHo Arts district. Most of the 60,000 feet of retail space at NoHo Commons, the largest single project in the area, is already leased, although the complex won’t open until next year. Maximilians, a posh French restaurant, opened a few months ago at Tujunga Boulevard and Weddington Street. And construction on a multi-venue club/restaurant at Lankershim Boulevard and Weddington Street is set to begin next month. The Reserve, as it is tentatively named, will feature a lunch time casual restaurant with a rock ‘n roll theme, an upscale lounge for evening diners, live music, dancing and, entertainment and karaoke on two levels. The venture is the first for Zeppelin Investment Opportunities, which has leased the old Security Pacific Bank building that’s been vacant for more than a decade to build the night spot. “I just knew I wanted to do something in the Valley,” said Jason Feld, a native of the San Fernando Valley who has chosen the ambitious project for the company’s maiden effort. “There’s a whole generation of Valley residents now that are young, doing well with some disposable income, but they are not looking to go over the hill and pay $30 for valet parking.” Feld, 37, is an attorney by training, who has been working for a number of night clubs and restaurants in Hollywood doing land use and business development. He estimates his new venture will cost upwards of $1 million, an investment that would have been unheard of for the area a few years ago. But Feld feels certain that NoHo offers the perfect location for his nightclub. “I went to university at NYU, and I love California and I love the weather here, but the truth of the matter is that the culture and energy and vibrancy of an urban center can’t be beat, and that’s what they’re producing here in NoHo,” Feld said. The housing projects on the drawing board or in development in the area will literally bring thousands of new residents to the neighborhood. But save for the Noho Collection apartments, a 103-unit complex at 11023 McCormick Street, most of those new apartment buildings have yet to open. Feld, who began planning his night spot before most of the holes were even dug, said he was aware at the time that NoHo’s renaissance had been heralded for years with virtually no progress made at all. “I said, ‘well, that may be the case, but I’ve got a good feeling about this,'” Feld said he told the naysayers. “And now to see the construction that’s going on and the quality, it’s really going to be an exciting place for people to live and work.” Indeed, these days there seems to be a virtual gold rush to get housing up in NoHo. J.H. Snyder Co., which had planned to build all 700-plus residential units in the NoHo Commons, recently partnered with Fairfield Residential, a division of Fairfield Properties in San Diego, to complete the task. Snyder will continue building some 290 lofts while Fairfield has taken over the apartment development. “We’re building the 291 lofts and the retail and then we have phase three of NoHo Commons, so it just made business sense to make the arrangement with them,” said Jerome H. Snyder, the firm’s founder and senior partner. JSM Construction, which built the Noho Collection, will deliver another three complexes with 500-odd units by the end of next year. And DT Group is set to deliver its NoHo Lofts with about 70 units by year end. With raw materials costs skyrocketing, few are able to project rental rates on unfinished properties, but the Noho Collection, which opened late last year and is already about 75 percent occupied, is renting at rates that range from $1,195 for a studio to $1,795 and up for a two bedroom unit. In other words, the folks likely to move into NoHo are not coming for cheap housing like many of their predecessors. They’re coming after a lifestyle that befits the upper income levels they’ve achieved. Which is just the customer base Joe Hurley anticipated when he opened Maximilian’s several months ago. Dinner entrees at the restaurant, with ample patio dining in a garden setting and elegant, old world European d & #233;cor inside, are in the mid-$20 range, a far cry from most of the restaurants that have been staples in NoHo. That is music to Feld’s ears. “I hope it’s a harbinger of things to come,” he said. “I really think there is potential for the right mix of boutiques and clubs and live theater. It really could be a dynamic place for the Valley.” Sylmar Sale A 207,108 square foot industrial facility in the Cascades Business Park in Sylmar has sold to a private investment group for over $16 million. The building, developed four years ago by Prudential Real Estate Investors, has had one tenant, Esterline Mason Electric, which occupies about half of the square footage. The remaining 104,000 square feet will be marketed by David Hoffberg and Jerry Scullin, brokers with Delphi Business Properties, who also assisted both sides in the sale of the property. The property was not listed for sale, the brokers said. “We came to the seller with a deal that everybody thought could make sense, and we made the deal,” said Hoffberg. “The market just continues to be driven by these incredibly low interest rates, which make the deals easier to pencil.” Hoffberg added that the scarce supply of institutional grade properties in master planned business parks also helped drive the sale.
Entertainment Volume Rises in NoHo Redevelopment