hyatt/dy/13″/mike1st/mark2nd DOUGLAS YOUNG Staff Reporter A flurry of commercial development activity is taking place in Valencia, as developer Newhall Land and Farming Co. transforms Town Center Drive into a retail district extending westward from the Valencia Town Center mall. Upon completion, Town Center Drive is designed to be an upscale retail/office district reminiscent of Colorado Boulevard in Old Town Pasadena, according to Newhall Land spokeswoman Marlee Lauffer. On parcels along the drive, which begins at the Valencia Town Center mall and stretches about half a mile to the west, are planned a 250-room Hyatt hotel, an entertainment center with a 3-D IMAX theater, a sports club and several buildings with retail and restaurant space. Newhall Land is financing and developing most of the buildings through its own internal resources, Lauffer said. Four projects on Town Center Drive have either been completed, are under construction or are slated to break ground in the near future. The lone completed project is a three-story mixed-use building with retail and restaurant space on the ground floor and offices on the two upper floors. The building was finished last September and is currently 55 percent leased, with Dean Witter as its largest office tenant, Lauffer said. Meanwhile, both the Hyatt and a 55,000-square-foot sports club are currently under construction. The sports club, with an expected completion date in May, will be operated by Spectrum Health Clubs, which plans to market the facility as a high-end sports facility, Lauffer said. The Hyatt is tentatively scheduled to open in the spring or summer of 1998, according to Cheryl Phelps, the Hyatt vice president in charge of the project. One factor attracting Hyatt to the area is the hotel chain’s relative lack of presence in the San Fernando Valley area, Phelps said. “We don’t have a presence in that part of Los Angeles. This would be the farthest north we have until you hit the one in Monterey,” she said, noting that the two closest Hyatts to Valencia are located in Westlake Village to the west and Century City to the south. Both Newhall Land and Hyatt are plugging the new hotel as Valencia’s first full-service inn catering to an upscale clientele. Aside from the three projects either finished or under construction, Newhall is also scheduled to soon break ground on a 60,000-square-foot entertainment complex. The complex, slated for completion in the spring of 1998, will feature an IMAX theater and 12 additional screens to be operated by Edwards Cinemas, said Lauffer. As early as this fall, Newhall also plans to break ground on two more mixed-use retail/office buildings. All the recent activity on Town Center Drive comes after a period of relative quiet for Newhall Land in the Valencia area. Lauffer explained that Newhall Land has spent much of the last four years developing infrastructure for Town Center Drive so it would be ready to build actual commercial projects as soon as the Southern California real estate market started to come back. “We’re creating this traditional street, but from the ground up. It was designed to be reminiscent of downtown main streets,” she said.