By ELIZABETH HAYES and SHELLY GARCIA Staff Reporters Luxury homes may be in the offing for a picturesque canyon in northern Los Angeles County, where Special Devices Inc. has maintained a headquarters and manufacturing facility for the past 38 years. The former principals of the company are looking to sell a 232-acre parcel of land in Placerita Canyon to a high-end residential developer for $5.5 million, said Michael Di Meo, a broker with Coldwell Banker Commercial Carlsberg in Camarillo, which is marketing the land. The property is south of Highway 14 and east of Interstate 5, adjacent to Sand Canyon, an enclave of multimillion-dollar estates. It features 2,000 and 2,500-foot elevations, has a creek running through it and offers views of Valencia and the surrounding canyons and mountains, Di Meo said. Special Devices, which manufactures pyrotechnic devices and air bag and missile activators, is relocating its headquarters and 500 employees to Moorpark. The company recently went from public to private status; the principals are retired and now wish to dispose of the land and buildings. “The company outgrew its facility. It was old and spread out. It was not efficient for the type of operation we have,” said Thomas Treinen, the former CEO. Special Devices has operated in the Newhall area under a special-use permit granted by the county that is set to expire in about three years. Given the lag time before a new owner obtains permits for homes, the buildings will be available for lease until the use-permit expires, Di Meo said. He said 35,000 to 50,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space could be leased on a short-term basis to other companies for offices or storage. But Di Meo said in the long run, housing makes the most sense. He said 80 to 100 high-end homes could be developed there. “It’s a beautiful site, with oak trees, and touches up against the national forest,” he said. Because it was a manufacturing site, Special Devices is testing the soil for contamination. So far, none has been detected, Di Meo said. He said two companies interested in buying the property have already submitted letters of intent. It’s no wonder there’s interest, given that the average value of luxury homes in Los Angeles increased 7.6 percent last year, according to the First Republic Prestige Home Index. The average value of $1.1 million, as of the end of the ’98, was the highest year-end average value since 1995. Galleria gets animated Warner Bros. Television’s animation group could get a higher profile in the remodeled Sherman Oaks Galleria. The company, which currently occupies close to 100,000 square feet in the adjacent office tower on Sepulveda Boulevard, is considering consolidating its space when the Galleria renovation is complete, said Mee Lee, a vice president at Douglas, Emmett & Co., which owns the building. Sources have said Warner is eyeing the Robinsons-May department store space, but Lee would not confirm that. Robinsons-May, after months of negotiation, has agreed to vacate the Galleria, clearing the way for a renovation to begin in coming months. “Now, they’re spread out in five or six floors,” Lee said. “Their operation works better when they’re closer together in larger floorplates.” Arden boosts Ventura holdings Arden Realty Limited Partnership has acquired a 60,000-square-foot office building in Thousand Oaks for $8.9 million, according to Brian Forster of Told Partners, who represented both the buyer and the seller, Hillside Corporate Center LLC. The acquisition brings Arden’s Ventura County real estate portfolio to nearly 1.5 million square feet. The building, at 555 St. Charles Place, is 94 percent leased with tenants including Ladco, J.F. Shea Co. and Fast Forward Designs. Sun Valley sale A Van Nuys investment partnership has acquired the 105,000-square-foot Branford Industrial Park in Sun Valley for $3.5 million. Ross Thomas of Delphi Business Properties represented the buyer, Branford Investments. The seller, Topa Financial, was represented by Charles Dunn Co. Sherman Oaks center sold A 4,109-square foot strip center in Sherman Oaks has been sold to a local L.A. property owner for $900,000. Stephen McCoy bought the center, which houses Yoshi’s Restaurant, Rose Photography Studio, The Coffee Roaster and We The People Legal Document Services. Lloyd Bakan of Westmac Commercial Brokerage Co. represented the sellers, Peter Schawalder and Reginald Thomas. Dan Miller of Capital Commercial/NAI represented the buyer. Thousand Oaks lease Sandpiper Networks leased a 13,000-square-foot facility in Legacy Oaks Corporate Center in Thousand Oaks, said Tom Festa, a broker with Grubb & Ellis Co., who represented the landlord. The six-year deal at 225 West Hillcrest is valued at $2 million. Richard Abbitt with Lee & Associates represented Sandpiper. Panorama City deal Autozone, the auto parts retailer, leased an 8,000-square-foot, free-standing building for a new store at Roscoe and Sepulveda boulevards, according to Richard L. Paley, president of Paley Commercial Real Estate Inc. in Encino, who represented the landlord, Win Properties Inc. of Greenwich, Conn. Mark Esses, a broker with California Realty Group, represented the tenant. The building had been vacant for two years. News and notes Chicago Title signed a lease for 16,000 square feet of office space at 535 Brand Blvd. in Glendale, according to Shaun Stiles at Cushman & Wakefield Inc., who represented the landlord, Arden Realty Inc. Bruce Hoffman at Equis represented the tenant. Cyber Solutions International/Stone Fair Inc., a Chicago-based importer and seller of marble and granite, has signed a lease for 15,000 square feet of industrial space in Sun Valley. The facility, at 8826 Bradley Ave., will be used to set up the company’s first Southern California location. Bob Keller of Capital Commercial/NAI represented Cyber Solutions in the multi-year lease valued at $280,800. Bob Hoyer of Delphi Business Properties represented the landlord, Ronald Johnson. Carl Karcher Enterprises has leased 6,022 square feet of office space at 17074 Devonshire St. in Granada Hills from Topper Bros./Pico Boston Corp. The company will be relocating its regional headquarters to the new facility. J. Richard Leyner, Cal Menzer and Zina Jacobson at Capital Commercial/NAI represented the lessor. Carol Plowman of Lee & Associates/Ontario Inc. represented Carl Karcher Enterprises in the $593,000 lease. Child Care Resource Center, a non-profit group providing child care resources and referrals, has expanded its facility at 16650 Sherman Way in Van Nuys to 35,000 square feet from 24,000 square feet. Rick Pearson and Carlo Brignardello at Metrospace represented Child Care. Bonnie McRea at CB Richard Ellis represented the landlord.