Yet another new retail name is about to hang a shingle in the San Fernando Valley. Stein Mart Inc., a junior department store that discounts first-run designer brands, has just leased the site of a former UA Theater in Granada Hills and will begin a remodeling effort shortly. Stein Mart, a $1.3 billion company that currently operates about 230 stores in 28 states, will build a 30,000-square-foot unit in Granada Village at Chatsworth and Zelzah avenues. The shopping center also contains a TJ Maxx, Ralphs and Rite Aid unit. Stein Mart currently operates nine stores in Southern California, including one in Valencia, but the current move is the beginning of a larger push into the area likely to include other Valley locations. “We’re looking for numerous locations in the Southern California marketplace,” said Wally Limburg, a partner with Strategic Retail Advisors, a Newport Beach-based real estate brokerage and consultancy specializing in retail real estate. Limburg said he is actively seeking more than 10 additional sites. Stein Mart, with headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla., chose the Granada Hills location because of the demographics, Limburg said. “They felt the demos of that area were conducive to their merchandise and the types of people they feel will shop at Stein Mart,” he said. The stores carry men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, accessories, gifts and shoes. Unlike other discounters, they do not use secondary labels or styles made specifically for the chain, focusing instead on current merchandise sold in better department and specialty stores, said Limburg. Stein Mart will shell out about $1.6 million, more than $50 a square foot, to renovate the former theater, an amount that is close to the replacement cost of the facility, said Chris Wilson, president of Wilson Commercial Real Estate, who represented the landlord, National Retail Partners, along with Coleen Kirnan of Kirnan Commercial Real Estate. “What we’re finding is to convert these old theater buildings to regular retail uses is turning out to be the most expensive retrofit of anything I can think of,” Wilson said. “Usually, if you have a 30,000-square-foot building, the retrofit is probably about $20 or $25 a square foot.” Stein Mart is expected to open in spring 2002. Chris Auer, who recently left Strategic Retail Partners, represented Stein Mart in the deal. Van Nuys Sale Executives of JB Marketing, video game distributors, have acquired a 10,856-square-foot industrial facility in Van Nuys for $937,000. With the move, the company will be expanding its headquarters and warehousing space threefold, according to Bob Hoyer of Delphi Business Properties, which represented the buyers, operating as SHM Holdings, in the deal. Luke Staubitz, Harvey Beesen and Melissa Lee of The Klabin Co., represented the seller, RLH Property Group. Thousand Oaks Lease American Recovery Service Inc., a commercial collection agency, has leased new offices at Hillside Corporate Center in Thousand Oaks. The five-year lease for 14,898 square feet of space is valued at $1.93 million. Carlo Brignardello of Cresa Partners represented the tenant. Michael Slater at CB Richard Ellis represented the landlord, Arden Realty Inc. Tourney’s New ACT Tourney Pointe, the beleaguered office complex in Valencia, has a new tenant. ACT Litigation is relocating from the San Fernando Valley to a 15,400-square-foot office in the center. The five-year lease is valued at $1.43 million. Tourney Pointe, a 219,000-square-foot office building, has a vacancy rate of 40 percent. Doug Sonderegger of CB Richard Ellis represented the tenant. CB’s Deron White and Jim Lindvall, a broker with Grubb & Ellis, represented the landlord, Arden Reality Inc. L.A. Law Bremer & Whyte LLP, a law firm that specializes in defending insurance companies and those they insure, has opened its first San Fernando Valley office in the LNR Warner Center complex. Bremer & Whyte leased 6,933 square feet of space at the complex at 21271 Burbank Blvd. The new office will house about 15 workers. The firm is headquartered in Newport Beach. Tony Principe, executive vice president at Westcord Commercial Real Estate Services, represented the tenant. Bank on More Union Bank of California leased 4,415 square feet of retail space at 3887 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. in Westlake Village. The value of the 15-year lease is in excess of $2.8 million. Union Bank’s freestanding Westlake Village location is part of an expansion throughout California, according to Craig A. Poletti, vice president of the bank. The company is planning to renovate the building and will assume occupancy this fall. David Powell, a broker with NAI Capital Commercial, represented the tenant. The landlord, The Robert Weil Trust, was represented by Cheryl Richmond, Marc Riches and Cory Richmond, also of NAI. Housing Forecast Speakers at a Ventura County real estate conference sponsored by Chicago Title told the audience gathered in Westlake Village on Sept. 6 that, while the area had not suffered the same commercial real estate downturn that some other California regions were enduring, lack of housing was posing a significant economic threat to the region. “Something needs to be done about the problem now before things worsen,” said Mark Schniepp, director for the California Economic Forecast and the featured speaker at the conference. Senior reporter Shelly Garcia can be reached at (818) 676-1750, ext. 14 or by e-mail at email@example.com.