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Sunday, May 28, 2023


Border Dispute Louise Marquez , the manager and marketing director of the Panorama Mall says she’s getting mighty tired of Van Nuys getting credit for the turnaround in Panorama City. When the area was blighted, folks called it Panorama City. Now that construction has begun on “The Plant,” a retail and industrial complex on the site of the former General Motors plant, and the area’s economy is improving, crime is down and there’s a sense of prosperity in the air, Marquez says folks keep referring to it as Van Nuys. Indeed, Bob Lumley, senior vice president at Voit Cos., which is developing the industrial portion of The Plant, thought it was located in Van Nuys. So did his partner in the project, Dan Selleck of the Selleck Development Group. They even call it Van Nuys at the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development. “What do they know?” says Nancy Hoffman at the Mid-Valley Chamber of Commerce, who says the border between Panorama City and Van Nuys is actually at the railroad tracks, north of Saticoy Street and south of The Plant. In fact, The Plant has “always been a Panorama City zip code,” Hoffman notes. The problem is that the GM plant was always called the “Van Nuys Plant,” not because it was located in Van Nuys, but because it was located on Van Nuys Boulevard. “Everyone assumed it was just Van Nuys,” Marquez said. “The actual railroad tracks are the boundary, but a lot of people don’t know that.” A Juicy Rumor, But It’s Not True A rumor has been making the rounds among commercial Realtors that Bristol Farms, the gourmet grocery store, is about to be bought out by Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market. Good rumor, but it’s simply not true, said Stephen Kaplan, a principal with Oaktree Capital Management LLC, one of Bristol Farms’ primary investors. “We’re not selling the company. In fact we’re in the process of investing another $15 million,” Kaplan said. The El Segundo-based company just opened stores in Newport Beach and Mission Viejo and is preparing to open yet another store in Beverly Hills next summer. Kaplan said rumors about Bristol Farms are common due to interest in the chain by what he sees as a near cult following by Southern Californians. Speaking of new store openings, when is the company going to reopen in Woodland Hills? The company closed its Topanga Canyon Boulevard location in May, saying it was looking for a hotter location on Ventura Boulevard. Officials with Oaktree Capital say the company is negotiating for a suitable space and has no plans to put Woodland Hills on the back burner. A Costly Remark If it weren’t for an offhand comment that Carl Schatz made to a banking journal shortly before he opened the Encino State Bank last October, the institution might have another name. Schatz was set to open what would be the fourth Valley-based banking institution he has founded, and figured on calling it the Bank of Encino, the same name he used for a bank he opened in 1953 and for another in 1986. Those banks ultimately were sold to other banks, which did away with the Bank of Encino moniker. As plans took shape for a new bank, Schatz commented to a banking industry publication that he wanted to use the name “Bank of Encino” because it was worth a million bucks. When officials at Western Bank read the passage, they took action to stop the use, even though they had done away with the name when they bought Bank of Encino in 1995. “They said, ‘If the name’s worth a million bucks, then we shouldn’t let anyone use it,'” said Schatz, who thus called the new bank Encino State Bank and who is the bank’s chairman and chief executive. The bank celebrates its first anniversary on October 2. It’s a Dirty Job But… The office of City Councilwoman Laura Chick has been getting complaints about a certain bar in the West Valley for some time now. The place is a “bikini bar,” where waitresses serve drinks and dance in skimpy bathing suits, but because they’re clothed, there isn’t much anyone can do about it. But lately one of the councilwoman’s constituents called to say that the bikinis had come off, and the girls were dancing topless at the bar. The development would change the business use of the establishment and warrants police investigation, said Eric Rose, district director for Councilmember Chick, who declined to name the establishment. But after lodging his complaint, the caller shifted gears, and asked Rose if he thought the police might need someone to work the case undercover. “He was willing to do it for free,” Rose said.

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