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Around the Valleys

ANTELOPE VALLEY LANCASTER Lancaster’s city-run clean energy program received a $1.5 million grant from the California Energy Commission to support becoming a net zero energy city. Lancaster Choice Energy, a city-owned utility, will use the grant to create a detailed business plan by 2018 on how the city will reach net zero in its energy use. It applied for the grant in partnership with the Net Zero Energy Alliance in San Rafael. Lancaster Choice Energy plans to apply for an $8 million phase two grant from the energy commission in the future. PALMDALE A 24,000-square-foot medical and office park in Palmdale has been sold for nearly $5 million, according to commercial brokerage firm Lee & Associates – LA North/Ventura Inc. in Sherman Oaks. L.A.-based private investment group Valerio Court bought the Challenger Business Park at 450 to 460 W. Palmdale Blvd. for $4.78 million from Martin Properties Inc. in Westlake Village, which developed the complex in 2009. The park sits across the street from the Palmdale Regional Medical Center, around which another developer is planning a 420,000-square-foot wellness village with outpatient services, retail, restaurants, a hotel and eventually residential units. CONEJO VALLEY AGOURA HILLS American Homes 4 Rent, the country’s largest publicly traded, single-family home landlord, announced the pricing of a $225 million public offering of preferred stock at $25 a share. The real estate investment trust said it plans to offer for sale 9 million of its 6.5 percent Series D preferred shares and expects to raise about $225 million, excluding underwriting discounts, commissions and expenses. American Homes plans to use the proceeds to repay debt, buy more homes and for general corporate purposes. WESTLAKE VILLAGE As evidence of Conejo Valley’s hot market for investors, insurer Farmers Group Inc. has sold its building in Westlake Village for $18.6 million, according to real estate activity tracking database CoStar Realty Information Inc. One person close to the transaction said the building was put on the market in March and garnered 20 offers – an unusually high number. L.A.-based Black Equities Group Ltd. bought the 64,500-square-foot Class A building at 31051 Agoura Road in the Westlake Village City Center on May 12, according to CoStar. The building is leased to one of Farmers’ insurance exchanges, which is owned independently of Farmers. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY BURBANK Matthews Studio Equipment received this month an “E” Star Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce in recognition for its export growth. This is the second Presidential Award for Export Services the entertainment industry supplier has received. Matthews works with the U.S. Commercial Services both domestically and internationally as well as the International Trade Administration offices in locating and qualifying potential clients and cooperating in multiple international trade expositions. “Together, these two awards recognize Matthews Studio Equipment’s continued export growth over the past 10 years,” said Robert Kulesh, vice president of sales and marketing. He received the award from Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. CALABASAS A proposed hotel’s four-story design has been informally rejected by the Calabasas City Council, according to media reports. Council officials asked Malibu developer Richard Weintraub, who proposed the $30 million project, to reduce the hotel’s height to three stories. That came despite the city planning commission’s February vote that the council should approve the project. The city limits new building heights to 35 feet, and Weintraub sought approval to go higher. What was to be a 127-room, 73,000-square-foot Marriott hotel called the Rondell Oasis on Las Virgenes Road just south of the 101 Freeway has an uncertain future. GLENDALE Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar announced it has completed a $75 million overhaul of its menu in hopes of revitalizing the chain to increase foot traffic and boost same-store sales. The casual-dining restaurant known for its hand-crafted drinks and American fare is kicking off the “largest and most comprehensive marketing and advertising campaign of its history,” according to the company. As part of the menu revamp, the chain owned by Glendale restaurant operator DineEquity Inc. has installed American-made, wood-fired grills as the centerpiece in roughly 2,000 of its U.S. restaurants. TARZANA Providence Tarzana Medical Center announced a $624 million expansion plan that calls for a new patient wing including a lobby and reception area as well as new diagnostic and treatment areas and expanded parking. The new patient wing will have 190 beds — some in private rooms — and will house a new emergency department which will include a pediatric intensive care unit. The major renovation should bring in approximately 1,000 construction jobs to Tarzana, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. The existing hospital will also receive such upgrades as improvements to the neonatal intensive care unit as well as the women’s pavilion. VAN NUYS Daniel Greenberg will step down as the longtime chief of Electro Rent Corp. in July. Greenberg has served as chief executive of the Van Nuys company, which rents electrical testing equipment, for more than 35 years. He joined the board in 1976 and will remain a member after he retires. Steven Markheim, president and chief operating officer, will become the new chief executive officer in July. He has been with the company for 35 years and in his current position since 2007. Other executive changes at Electro Rent include making Allen Sciarillo permanent chief financial officer and lead director Karen Curtin the non-executive chairwoman of the board. WOODLAND HILLS The Matrix Institute on Addictions has appointed Dr. Kenji Watanabe as clinical director for its Woodland Hills facility. The alcohol and drug outpatient treatment center currently has four locations in the Los Angeles area — in West Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, the San Fernando Valley as well as its Los Angeles Opioid Treatment facility. In 2007, Watanabe interned at the institute as a mental health therapist and now oversees three clinicians and two administrators in his new role. Watanabe has a master’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. SIMI VALLEY SIMI VALLEY AeroVironment Inc.’s new unmanned aircraft will be evaluated by a Pentagon office for possible use at government facilities for surveillance and reconnaissance. The Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office has funded development of the Tether Eye drone made by the Simi Valley company. Tether Eye can provide continuous surveillance at up to 150 feet from its launch point connected to its base station by a tether, or wire, that provides power. The aircraft uses electro-optical and infrared cameras providing both day and night imagery with full motion video transmitted directly to a ground control station. Dialyses center operator Total Renal Care Inc. has leased more than 11,000 square feet in Simi Valley, according to commercial real estate brokerage Lee & Associates-LA North/Ventura in Sherman Oaks. Total Renal Care, which operates DaVita Dialysis Centers, has signed a deal for an 11,238-square-foot building at 970 Enchanted Way in the Hillside Business Center. The 120-month agreement is worth more than $3 million, according to Lee & Associates. DaVita owns or operates nearly 2,280 outpatient dialysis centers in the United States serving about 180,000 patients. Cory Richmond and Joe Jusko, principals of Lee & Associates, represented the landlord, Mid Valley Properties. – Compiled by Stephanie Henkel

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