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Around The Valleys

ANTELOPE VALLEY MOJAVE Stratolaunch is ending its development of a new line of launch vehicles that includes a space plane to concentrate on the airplane it has built at the Mojave Air & Space Port. The company had announced in August it would build a group of launch vehicles, including two versions of a medium launch vehicle that could carry payloads between 7,500 pounds and 13,000 pounds, and the reusable space plane that would eventually have a version capable of carrying a crew. Stratolaunch was founded in 2011 by the late billionaire Paul Allen to launch satellite-carrying rockets into orbit as a lower cost alternative to ground-launched rockets. It has built the world’s largest airplane to take the rockets carrying satellites up to an altitude of 35,000 feet and then launch them into Earth orbit. GeekWire, a technology news website based in Seattle, first reported Jan. 25 that Stratolaunch was scaling back its operations. A company spokesman confirmed the story. “We are streamlining operations, focusing on the aircraft and our ability to support a demonstration launch of the Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL air-launch vehicle,” a Stratolaunch spokesman said. Pegasus is a rocket that can carry a payload up to 1,000 pounds and has had more than 30 successful launches. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY BURBANK Derica Rice, president of CVS Caremark, has been nominated as a director for the Walt Disney Co. A total of nine nominees will stand for election as directors of the Burbank media company at this year’s annual meeting March 7, including eight current board members and Rice. Three board members will be departing: John Chen, Aylwin Lewis and Fred Langhammer. It is the board’s policy to limit tenure to 15 years and set the retirement age at 74. Rice has served as executive vice president of CVS Health and president of its pharmacy benefits management business, CVS Caremark, since March 2018. Prior to joining CVS Health, Rice served as chief financial officer for Eli Lilly & Co., where he worked for 27 years. GLENDALE Former state treasurer John Chiang has joined the board of Apollo Medical Holdings, an integrated population health management company in Glendale. Chiang served as California State Treasurer from 2015 until earlier this month. He began his career as a tax law specialist for the IRS. ApolloMed also named Linda Marsh to the board. She is currently vice president for AHMC Healthcare, overseeing financial matters for seven acute care hospitals. She is also responsible for all federal, state and local government relations, as well as all risk management activities for AHMC. “We are honored to welcome Ms. Marsh and Mr. Chiang to our board of directors,” stated Dr. Warren Hosseinion, co-chief executive of ApolloMed, in a statement. “Drawing on their years of experience in the health care industry and government relations, (they) will provide fresh insights to our company as we continue to grow.” MISSION HILLS A proposed project in Mission Hills will supplant two existing restaurants with 52 apartments. According to Urbanize.LA, the Los Angeles Department of City Planning has revealed the Ackerman Family Limited Partnership of San Pedro’s plans to create the Bermuda Apartments near the southwest corner of Sepulveda Boulevard and Bermuda Street. The structure will have four floors of apartments, including seven set aside for very low- and extremely low-income households as well as 77 stalls of above-ground parking. According to Google Maps, the restaurants occupying that southwest corner are Coco’s Bakery and The Bear Pit Bar-B-Q. The project’s environmental report forecasts a 21-month construction period starting in August 2019. STUDIO CITY The Sportsmen’s Lodge Events Center in Studio City suffered a fire Jan. 15 that left the dining and special events venue damaged. The small electrical fire took place in the kitchen of the event center, which is due to be fully operational in February. “Thankfully no one was hurt and the property is grateful for the Los Angeles Fire Department’s quick response,” said Sarah Ficek, spokesperson for The Sportsmen’s Lodge. According to a Patch.com report, members of the Los Angeles Fire Department were called to 12833 W. Ventura Blvd. just before 2 a.m. VAN NUYS Aviation professionals gathered Jan. 17 at the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys to hear about the benefits of alternative jet fuel. The “Business Jets Fuel Green: A Step Toward Sustainability” event was attended by about 170 people. It marked the official launch of sustainable alternative jet fuels on the market, with Van Nuys the first general aviation airport in the U.S. to offer this fuel on a trial basis and providing a model for offering the fuel at other airports. The event featured a panel discussion on alternative aviation fuels and media flights aboard business jets using the fuel. The four fixed-base operators at the airport – Jet Aviation, Clay Lacy Aviation, Castle & Cooke Aviation and Signature Flight Support – took fuel deliveries the day of the event. WOODLAND HILLS Rex, a Woodland Hills company that uses technology to sell homes, has secured $45 million in Series C funding. Last year, Rex expanded to Colorado, Texas, Northern California and New Jersey from its roots in Southern California and New York. The fresh funding will pay for a national expansion and add to its services. The company charges a fixed 2 percent commission covering both sides of the transaction with a team handling listing, escrow, title, mortgage and closing. The company said it increased listings by 300 percent last year, representing more than $1 billion worth of homes and saving customers more than $12 million in commissions they otherwise would have paid traditional brokers. “We are at a transformational moment in the U.S. real estate market with consumers demanding lower costs, great service and the benefits brought by technology that have transformed so many other industries,” Jack Ryan, co-founder and chief executive of Rex, said in a statement. Kids Empire, a children’s indoor playground, has signed a five-year lease for 10,141 square feet of retail space in Warner Center. The space at 6400 Owensmouth Ave. is under construction. This is the ninth Kids Empire location to undergo construction this year and the sixth in California. “The Woodland Hills location is across from the Westfield Topanga Mall that draws 22 million visitors a year,” said Stephan Ktorza, commercial real estate broker. “This kind of traffic will be great for Kids Empire.” Ktorza and Shelby Dopps, both of Kidder Mathews, represented Kids Empire in the transaction. Capital JTA, the landlord, was represented by Todd Nathanson and Carter D’Auria with Illi Commercial Real Estate. SANTA CLARITA VALLEY VALENCIA Santa Clarita Studios has leased a 109,379-square-foot warehouse in Valencia for seven years, according to an announcement from CBRE Group Inc., which handled the transaction. The company plans to operate the property as an independent film production facility. The site, located at 28210 Avenue Stanford, is a recently renovated warehouse located in the heart of the Valencia Industrial Center with 5 freeway access. Among the soundstage-ready features: 24-foot minimum clear height, 245 parking spaces with a large rear yard area and a large electrical power supply.As part of Santa Clarita Valley’s movie production sector, Santa Clarita Studios has provided its space and services to such productions as the movie “A Wrinkle in Time” and television shows such as “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Deadwood” and “Future Man.” VENTURA COUNTY CAMARILLO In a companywide move Jan. 23, Gannett has laid off dozens of employees nationwide, including four journalists at the media company’s local newspaper, Ventura County Star. The news came a few weeks after the newspaper syndicate received an unsolicited bid to be purchased by Denver Post and Boston Herald parent company MNG Enterprises, also known as Digital First Media, for $1.36 billion. According to a Poynter Institute report, Gannett’s cost-cutting move had been anticipated even before Digital First, which owns Los Angeles Daily News, made overtures to buy the chain. According to the report, four people were let go at the VC Star. A Gannett employee confirmed to the Business Journal that all four employees worked in the editorial department.

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