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Saturday, Sep 23, 2023


The San Fernando Valley fell on hard times in the early ’90s. Economic recession led to the closure of many of the Valley’s biggest employers, including the General Motors plant in Van Nuys. Then there was the Northridge earthquake in 1994, which inflicted damage so severe and widespread that some of it still persists today. While the rest of L.A.’s economy boomed this year, the Valley is only now starting to regain its former prosperity. The San Fernando Valley Business Journal asks: Do you think business in the Valley will be better in 1998 than it has been in 1997? Donald Hudson senior vice president Warner Center Properties Woodland Hills That’s an easy call. Our business has been getting better for the last 24 to 30 months and I think that will continue. If 1997 was a good year, ’98 will be great. Other (commercial property) markets in the city are hot and we are benefiting from that. We expect our vacancy rates to fall into single digits in early 1998. As for retail, it is harder for me to say. But across the board, discretionary spending by the people I meet is way up. Frederic Boyer chief financial officer Software Dynamics Inc. Chatsworth I think conditions will continue to improve. It is evidenced by the occupancy rate in industrial and commercial property. It should continue through the millennium. I see a lot of new companies coming in, especially in the 101 Corridor in Westlake Village. I know of three startup companies in four months that have received venture capital. That is going to continue. Companies like it out here because the environment is better and there is a good labor pool. John Merlo president Premier American Federal Credit Union We think it will improve a little bit, but it won’t be dramatic. We will see our own business stay in the same general range as now. We think interest rates will remain low, which will make lending affordable. So real estate should be positive. We are also starting to see a slowing of bankruptcy-related filings. The bankruptcy rate is still high but the growth rate is slowing. We will have a similar year for consumer lending. Vehicle lending will be up about 10 to 12 percent. It reflects that more people are confident enough in the economy to buy cars. Sharon Berman marketing consultant Berbay Corp. Tarzana Overall, things are heating up in the Valley. I would like to think it will continue. People seem to have gotten over the earthquake and are now looking forward. There seem to be fewer empty stores on Ventura Boulevard. Especially here in Tarzana, there have been a lot of new shops and restaurants. It’s taking on quite a trendy feel. Dr. Barry Pascal owner Northridge Pharmacy Northridge I am part of the medical provider market. So we are taking a bad hit because the managed care movement is squeezing the providers so much. So that business is not going to get better. My gift store, on the other hand, it getting better. Our area of the Valley is rebuilding after the earthquake. As apartment buildings are rebuilt and more people move in, I expect all retail activity to pick up. Isaac Starkman chief executive officer Jerry’s Famous Deli Studio City Yes. The overall environment in the Valley is improving. People are coming back. There is more traffic on the street, more people going in and out of the shops. Our numbers have started to improve over the last few months, but I don’t think it will really start to be reflected until 1998 and 1999.

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