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Friday, Feb 23, 2024

L.A. City Council Busy With Real Estate Proposals

The Los Angeles City Council is voting on, or has moved to consider, a number of real estate-related proposals that I felt were worthy of our readers’ attention. Westfield Agreement The Department of City Planning has requested that the City enter into a three-year Supplemental Fee Agreement with Westfield America (the company that controls a good percentage of the regional shopping centers in the Valley) for their Topanga, Sherman Oaks and Century City mall expansion projects. The proposed SFA would have Westfield contributing $2.9 million to the City over three years to pay the cost of four full-time and two part-time staff in the Planning, Transportation, and Public Works departments and the City Attorney’s office. The departmental staff would be charged with preparing and reviewing environmental impact reports, transportation impacts, infrastructure alterations and the like. The Westfield-paid City Attorney staff would then review the documents prepared by the Westfield-paid Planning, Transportation and Public Works staff. No word about whether overtime will be paid. While at first this seems like a fiscally responsible move considering the toll these major projects would take on the aforementioned City department budgets and staff; one has to ask, where are the checks and balances when almost everyone involved in the process is, in essence, a Westfield employee? Shoring up Ailing Homebuilders Councilman Richard Alarcon, representing the 7th District, has made a motion to use at least $5 million in Community Redevelopment Agency revenues to fund the Hometown Heroes Homeownership Opportunity Program, or H3O. In his motion, Alarcon references the damage the foreclosure crisis is having on the Valley, with Sylmar and North Hills, he writes, being particularly hard hit. He even quotes Fed chair Ben Bernanke as saying that a rise in foreclosures can weigh down home prices, which hurts household worth and, ultimately, the health of Wall Street’s biggest banks. Whew! That’s a lot of weight to put on the 7th District. But Alarcon seems to be most concerned for businesses homebuilders whose brand new homes are sitting vacant or whose workers are sitting idle as half-finished projects languish. In fact, the H3O would only allow participants to purchase “newly built but vacant housing stock.” Realtors take note. The motion was seconded by six other council members and has been sent to the Housing, Community and Economic Development committee for further study. Retraining Mortgage Lenders Councilman Greig Smith, representing the 12th District, has come up with a plan to use nearly $900,000 in grants coming in from the State of California to address the massive job losses in the “most distressed industry sectors,” identified as construction, financial services and manufacturing. The first grant of $516,645 is from the state Employment Development Department, and is meant to “enable the City to address massive dislocations in the sub-prime mortgage lending and banking industries. The second grant of $376,752 is coming from the 15% Governor’s Discretionary Grant Funds. These funds, when combined with the first grant, are meant to “address the negative impact of job losses in the sub-prime mortgage lending and banking industries.” The plan is to give $122,397 of the funds to the Community Development Department for increased staff support. The rest of the money will be split between four career-development organizations that will take charge of the “Sub-Prime Mortgage Lending and Banking Re-Training Project.” We can only hope that ethics classes will be included as part of the retraining program. Mansionization Ordinance Amended The ordinance that would limit the size of homes that could be built in residential areas was amended before the Council’s final vote with council members Cardenas and Reyes adding a clause that would cause the ordinance to sunset just two years after the effective date. That sort of takes the teeth out of the measure, doesn’t it, especially since two years is just about the time it would take to get a project entitled these days. Lessor becomes Buyer Pier One Imports in La Canada Flintridge has purchased the building their store has been leasing, said Dave Maron, senior vice president and partner at Stevenson Real. The 2200 Foothill Blvd. property has a 10,000-square-foot store on a 38,430-square-foot parcel. “This offer came to me, unsolicited, without it being on the market,” said Maron, who represented the seller, who remains confidential. The buyer was represented by Coldwell Banker. Arbors Fully Leased In completing a 12,000-square-foot lease to AGFA, CB Richard Ellis has fully leased The Arbors of Thousand Oaks. Sares-Regis Group, developer of The Arbors, was represented in the lease negotiations by a team of Ventura County CBRE brokers comprised of Tom Dwyer, Michael Slater and Jennifer Rice. The lessor was represented by Sam Hortwitz of UGL Equis. Industrial Parcel Sold A 1.4-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Van Nuys Airport has been sold for $3 million. The industrial-zoned property at 16201 Lindbergh Street in Van Nuys is one of the few land sales in the San Fernando Valley over the last two years, according to John DeGrinis, SIOR, Colliers senior vice president. The buyer, Perfect Nutrition, Inc., a distributor of nutritional supplements, plans to build a 30,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility. They were represented in the transaction by Dick Eccles of Westcord Commercial. The seller, SDG Sherman Way Associates LLC/Van Nuys Airport Investments LLC was represented by a team of Colliers brokers from the Encino office led by DeGrinis, and including Brent Weirick and Patrick DuRoss. Staff Reporter Linda Coburn can be reached at (818) 316-3123 or at lcoburn@sfvbj.com .

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