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Monday, Jan 30, 2023
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Around the Valleys

ANTELOPE VALLEY MOJAVE The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said that a snail found at a proposed gold and silver mine may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act, possibly slowing the opening of Golden Queen Mining Co. Ltd.’s Soledad Mountain project. The Center for Biological Diversity had requested emergency protection of the Mojave shoulderband snail, a half-inch mollusk. Golden Queen, a Vancouver, British Columbia company, bought the mine in 1985 and expects to remove 14 million tons of rocks annually, with potential for a $968 million total gold haul. The Fish & Wildlife Service should issue a listing proposal for the snail in April next year. CONEJO VALLEY THOUSAND OAKS Online travel company Expedia Inc. will buy Amgen Inc.’s offices in Seattle for $229 million and move in by 2018. Last October, Amgen announced it would lay off 274 workers in Seattle and exit Washington State by the end of this year. The layoffs are part of a larger restructuring in which Amgen plans to reduce its payroll by as much as 2,900 and shut down its Onyx Pharmaceuticals subsidiary in South San Francisco. The purchase of the Amgen property is expected to close in the second quarter. CAMARILLO The Ventura County Star newspaper has a new owner in Journal Media Group Inc. of Milwaukee, a spin-off of prior owner E.W. Scripps Co. Journal Media will operate newspapers and websites in 14 markets in nine states, including the flagship Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Commercial Appeal in Memphis. Star Publisher Shanna Cannon said that while some things will change at the paper, serving readers remains a top priority. Journal Media was formed when Scripps, in Cincinnati, spun off its newspaper holdings and merged them with Journal Communications Inc., a publicly traded media company in Milwaukee. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY BURBANK The Burbank City Council approved a law temporarily tightening restrictions on single-family home construction in response to complaints from neighbors about mansionization. The city is working on a full overhaul of its residential building codes, but that effort is expected to take more than a year. The temporary ordinance, which closes loopholes in height restrictions and second-story setback rules to make it more difficult for large, boxy homes to be approved, is considered a stop-gap measure. The Burbank Association of Realtors submitted a letter opposing the tougher restrictions, but other residents, who have been pushing for anti-mansionization laws for two years, applauded the Council’s action. CHATSWORTH Aircraft parts supplier Align Aerospace Holding Inc. was sold to a subsidiary of AVIC International Holding Corp. in Beijing, which is an importer and exporter of commercial aerospace products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Align had been owned since August 2011 by Greenbriar Private Equity Group LLC of Rye, N.Y. The Chatsworth company, founded in 1972, runs distribution centers for aerospace parts and components in California and France. GLENDALE Caruso Affiliated has struck a deal to purchase a former Masonic Temple and plans to repurpose it as a mixed-use building. The Los Angeles retail developer is acquiring the historic structure from owner Frank De Pietro & Sons. The deal includes the 56,000-square-foot temple at 232-36 S. Brand Blvd., two adjacent buildings and an adjoining vacant lot. The properties are across the street from Caruso Affiliated’s Americana at Brand shopping center. Terms of the transaction, not set to close until the fourth quarter, were not disclosed. Caruso plans to repurpose the 1927 temple building into creative office space with retail and restaurants. NORTH HOLLYWOOD Developers Goldstein Planting Investments of Los Angeles and Merlone Geier Management Inc. of San Diego plan to turn the 25-acre Laurel Plaza shopping center into a 300,000-square-foot mixed-use project called NoHo West. The project would require the demolition of a 90,000-square-foot office building and a 30,000-square-foot Macy’s annex building, both on the 6000 block of Laurel Canyon Boulevard. The main Macy’s building would be re-used for 500,000 square feet of office space under the plan. Macy’s Inc. in Cincinnati sold the property to the developers for $50 million in January last year. The proposed project also includes 742 residential units. NORTHRIDGE A property that housed a long-time San Fernando Valley Cadillac dealership sold for $5.7 million to a Beverly Hills developer. David Schwartzman, chief executive of Harridge Development Group, will likely redevelop the 3.3-acre site at Roscoe and Reseda boulevards into a mixed-use project. The seller was Lehr Properties LP of Newport Beach, owned by the family of H. Neill Lehr, who operated a car dealership there starting in the 1960s. The property is currently occupied by three tenants including the Picture Car Warehouse, which leases vintage autos to the film industry. Development will begin after the current leases expire in about 18 months. Business Partners LLC, which brokers loans and provides risk-management services for credit unions in 40 states, will now be known as Extensia Financial LLC. The 40-employee company, which services about $750 million in commercial real estate and small business loans, was acquired 18 months ago from the National Credit Union Administration, an independent federal agency. A consortium of three credit unions – Farmers’ Insurance Group Federal Credit Union in Los Angeles, Public Services Credit Union in Denver and Great Lakes Credit Union in North Chicago – bought the company. Chief Executive Pam Easley, who formerly headed American First Credit Union in La Habra, supervised the rebranding strategy. VAN NUYS TWC Aviation in Van Nuys was acquired for an undisclosed amount by Landmark Aircraft, a Houston charter service owned by Washington, D.C. private equity firm Carlyle Group. TWC was founded in 1998 by Andrew Lessman and relocated to Van Nuys Airport from Burbank Bob Hope Airport in 2008. The company will continue operating as a separate brand offering private charter and aircraft management services during the integration process with Landmark. Edward Frank, chief executive of TWC, will become general manager of Landmark Aircraft management and charter. The company will now be one of the largest private charter fleets operating in the United States. WOODLAND HILLS Viking Cruises, best known for its river cruises, has taken delivery of its first ocean cruise ship. The Viking Star was built by Italian cruise ship builder Fincantieri, based in Trieste. It is the first of three luxury ocean ships Viking is having built for roughly $350 to $400 million each. The Viking Star, to be christened in Norway on May 17, weighs 47,800 tons, has 465 cabins and can accommodate 930 guest passengers – considerably smaller than typical mass market ocean cruise ships that can hold 3,000 or more. The ship will set sail on its first voyage this year, with itineraries including Scandinavia and the Baltic, the Mediterranean and the British Isles. – Compiled by Karen E. Klein

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