Local developers have acquired La Reina Place in Sherman Oaks with plans to pump about $1.5 million to $2 million into a major renovation of the shopping plaza. Golden West Properties and Jade Enterprises in L.A. acquired the 60,000-square-foot center from Japanese investors, Robert Dollar Building, which had had owned it for about 15 years. The purchase price was not disclosed. “That portion of Ventura Boulevard is the busiest portion of Ventura Boulevard,” said Tom Pashaie, a partner with Golden West Properties, which has developed about a half dozen centers in the central San Fernando Valley, including the popular Encino Place. “That was attractive because of the constant foot traffic as well as auto traffic.” The area, roughly bordered by Van Nuys Boulevard and Kester Street, sits at the heart of Sherman Oaks, but it languished through most of the 1990s, attracting a hodgepodge of tenants. While national retail tenants moved into Studio City to the east, they bypassed the Sherman Oaks area. But the La Reina facelift, coupled with the renovation under way at the Sherman Oaks Galleria, could substantially change the complexion of the area. Both centers are due to be completed in the fall of 2001. “From a positioning standpoint, La Reina is probably ground zero,” said Greg Whitney, senior associate with Grubb & Ellis Inc. brokerage. “There’s some upside and potential to do better things.” Piecemeal expansion Built about 50 years ago, the focal point of the center is an art deco theater, from which the center draws its name. But since then, the center was expanded piecemeal, and the developers now hope to carry the art deco theme throughout the project. A stairway that cuts the center in two will be replaced with a large fountain, and the outdoor seating in front of the center will be expanded and made more uniform with landscaping. Pashaie likened the design to the look of the outdoor seating section at Sunset Plaza in West Hollywood. The developers also plan to revamp the second floor of the center to make the shops more visible from the street, “so the building will have more presence and mass,” Pashaie said. “The front would be more like terraces in France or England, and there would be seating and benches and flowers on the second floor.” Other touches will include columns, glass banisters and a large clock. Apparel shops The retail lineup, which includes Starbucks, Noah’s Bagels and Topz, will stay the same, although Pashaie said that he would like to bring in some upscale apparel shops as current leases expire.
INTERNET—Sherman Oaks’ La Reina Center Getting New Look