By SHELLY GARCIA Staff Reporter Trammell Crow Co. has begun work to rebuild a portion of the Harmon International Business Center, which had been severely damaged in the Northridge Earthquake. The property, at the center of the business park at Balboa Avenue, north of Roscoe Boulevard in Northridge, will be redeveloped into a three-story, 130,000-square-foot office building, which Trammell Crow expects to offer either to a single tenant or to multiple users, according to Mark Ossola, the firm’s vice president of development. The buildings on the site, which have been unoccupied since the 1994 temblor, were demolished earlier this month, and groundbreaking on the new facility is expected to take place in April. The $15 million development is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year. The development, which will have its own name, The Centre, and its own entrance and exit, is part of a 44.5-acre, 800,000-square-foot office campus built about 40 years ago. The other buildings on the site are two-story facilities. Trammell Crow, which also recently closed escrow on the former Coast Federal Bank headquarters in West Hills, expects to have no difficulty leasing the speculative building despite recent indications of a slowdown in the market for office real estate. One reason for the optimism is the low vacancy rate in the rest of the business park, which has been nearly fully leased for more than a decade. In addition, The Centre has the flexibility to accommodate several different types and sizes of tenants, so it doesn’t have to wait for a single large tenant, which can slow a developer’s chances of renting the space, said Mark Leonard, a principal with Trammell Crow who oversees its San Fernando Valley efforts. “Obviously, the larger deals are there, but there are fewer of those deals,” said Leonard. “There are many more 20,000-square-foot tenants than there are 40,000-, 50,000- or 100,000-square-foot users.” At the same time, Leonard said, the lease rates for The Centre will be “very competitive with free parking.” Leonard declined to discuss the specific lease rates, but other area brokers expect that The Centre will lease below $2 per square foot. Leonard said he currently has proposals out to several potential tenants. Is Panorama City going upscale? First came Wal-Mart. Then The Plant opened its retail and entertainment center. Now, another shopping center owner is hoping that Panorama City, once a blighted area where retailers feared to tread, will attract still more upscale national chains. Gold Realty, a Beverly Hills company that owns the Panorama City Center at the southeast corner of Van Nuys and Roscoe boulevards, is beginning a $1 million facelift to remake its 90,000-square-foot complex. With all of the leases due to expire shortly, Gold and its brokers, Charles Dunn Co., could bring an entirely new group of tenants to the center, although discussions with some current tenants are underway. The center is anchored with a Robinson’s-May clearance center. “We are given a completely clean slate to put in an entirely new set of tenants,” said Avrum Golenberg, director of Dunn’s sales and leasing division. “With The Plant down the street, these are all big, national tenants and we’re looking to bring in the same kind of people.” Golenberg said that while L.A. is generally considered over-stored, and retailers like Best Buy, Circuit City and Old Navy have opened up a number of stores in the San Fernando Valley, they are not represented in the Panorama City area. And while these retailers have traditionally looked at areas that are more affluent than Panorama City, the traffic and density of the neighborhood could be an attraction, Golenberg said. “We all pooh-pooh the area too much,” said Golenberg. “It’s a numbers game. There are 300,000 people within three miles. That customer wears Old Navy and they want Jamba Juice.” Retail lease prices in Panorama City have hovered in the $1.25 per square foot to $1.50 per square foot range. But Golenberg said that with the area’s recent redevelopment, prices are starting to rise. He expects that the remodeled center will bring rates of $1.75 to $2 a square foot. “My feeling is, we’re in as good a location as you can get,” he said. The opening of Wal-Mart’s first L.A. store in the Panorama Mall last year sparked a revival of interest in that shopping center which rippled through the surrounding area, as well. The Plant, which includes 250,000 square feet of retail space, was nearly fully leased before it opened late in 1998. Media Studios hits halfway mark Alltel Information Services, a division of telecommunications company Alltel Corp., is set to become the third tenant at Media Studios North, M. David Paul’s recently completed Burbank office complex. Alltel, which signed a lease for 23,000 square feet of space in the office campus, joins Equilon Enterprises LLC, a joint venture between Texaco Inc. and Shell Oil Co., which leased 65,000 square feet of space, and Microcadam Inc., a supplier to the computer-aided design (CAD) market, which signed a deal for 20,000 square feet in the complex. The addition of Alltel Information Services, which will be moving from another Burbank location, puts the occupancy rate at the 215,000-square-foot Media Studios North campus at 50 percent. M. David Paul completed the construction of the speculative development at Ontario Street between Thornton and Empire avenues in October. Senior residence sold A group of private investors has acquired a luxury senior residence in Chatsworth for $7.25 million, according to Dean Zander, a broker with Sperry Van Ness who represented the seller. The property, Brookside Apartments, is an 80-unit apartment building designed for affluent residents aged 55 and over. Built in 1991, it consists of two-bedroom, two-bath units of about 1,000 square feet with rentals of $1,000 a month. The building is fully occupied. The seller was WHC Investors. Caroline Sauls at Sperry Van Ness represented the buyer. New housing for Oxnard A Houston company has acquired a 33-acre parcel in Oxnard with plans to build a 403-unit apartment development on the site. SIA Partners purchased the property, located at Lombard and Wankel streets, from Sunrise Properties Inc. for more than $10 million, according to Fred Ferro, vice president of Capital Commercial/NAI, who represented the seller. The buyers were represented by Lindsay Parton, an independent broker in Santa Barbara. The site, located in an area known as Oxnard’s Pacific Commerce Center, was re-zoned for multifamily dwellings in 1993.