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Friday, Aug 19, 2022
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Around the Valleys

 San Fernando ValleyThe board of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority has named Metrolink Chief Executive Stephanie Wiggins as the agency’s next chief executive, effective next month. Wiggins, who previously served as deputy chief executive at Metro, will become the first woman and the first Black woman to head the county’s transportation authority. “L.A. County has great mobility needs that we must develop with goals of achieving better health, opportunity and equity for all of the region’s residents, and I look forward to bringing transformative leadership and collaboration with the region’s transportation authorities to make this vision a reality,” Wiggins said in a statement. She will manage a budget of nearly $7 billion, oversee up to $20 billion in construction projects and lead an agency with 11,000 employees that transports more than a half-million boarding passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 buses and six rail lines. “Metro is in the midst of a generational transformation that will mean more jobs for local workers, more growth for our economy and more ways for Angelenos to move around our region — and nobody is better prepared to carry the torch of progress than Stephanie Wiggins,” said Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in the announcement. In 2018, Wiggins was named chief executive of regional rail authority Metrolink, the nation’s third-largest passenger rail system, covering 538 route-miles in five Southern California counties. At Metro, she will succeed Phillip Washington, who retired after six years.

CHATSWORTHLamps Plus Inc. has named Clark Linstone as the new president at the retailer of lamps, lighting fixtures and home furnishings. Linstone currently serves as chief operating officer of the company and will continue in that position as well as heading up Lamps Plus Hospitality, the hotels and resorts trade business. As president he will oversee all business operations, stores and distribution center operations. He will continue to report to founder and Chief Executive Dennis Swanson. Swanson called Linstone, who has been with Lamps Plus for nearly 30 years, one of the most successful and highly regarded leaders in the lighting industry. “His contributions to the company have helped make Lamps Plus the retail and manufacturing success story that it is today,” Swanson said in a statement. Prior to joining Lamps Plus, Linstone was a vice president at Union Bank.VAN NUYSGalpin Motors has opened its doors to its newly renovated Land Rover dealership at 15500 Roscoe Blvd., which boasts Range Rovers and brands such as Jaguar and Aston Martin. Amenities include a new Starbucks, customer lounge with workspaces, electric vehicle charging stations and over 30 service bays. Galpin has implemented a variety of measures to ensure customer safety during the current pandemic.    Santa Clarita ValleyVALENCIACalifornia Resources Corp. has appointed Tiffany Thom Cepak as the new chair of the company’s board. Cepak replaces Mark McFarland as chair of the oil and gas producer. McFarland became chief executive of the company on March 22 and remains on the board. “With 26 years of experience in the energy industry, we look forward to Ms. Cepak’s leadership of our board,” McFarland said in a statement. Cepak has served as director of Patterson-UTI in Houston since August 2014, and director of Virginia Corp.

since September 2019, CRC said. She has also held the role of chief financial officer at Houston’s Energy XXI Gulf Coast Inc., KLR Energy and EPL Oil & Gas Inc.Westfield announced that it has canceled plans to expand Westfield Valencia Town Center with its high-profile 101,000-square-foot Costco and other amenities. Parent company Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield said in a statement: “Like so many businesses, 2020 was a year like no other in Westfield’s history. Westfield moved quickly to adapt to the realities created by a global pandemic and the accelerated consumer trends for the retail industry. Part of this evolution is our strategic decision to bring to a close development plans for the Patios Connection Plan at the Valencia Town Center, which included a Costco. While this plan has come to a close, our commitment to Valencia Town Center continues.” The company announced the Patios Connection project in 2019 with an estimated cost of $100 million. With that plan nixed, Westfield officials added that they intend to pursue other mixed-use development on the Town Center property. The Patios’ cancellation may have some connection to an announcement made at a February shareholders meeting, where URW reported that earnings were down by about 40 percent and that URW plans to sell its major U.S. properties by 2022, as the Business Journal reported earlier this year. “We are assessing all potential options. At the end of the day, exposure to the U.S. will be minimal, if not zero,” Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marie Tritant said during a February press conference.    Ventura CountyTHOUSAND OAKSNational go-cart recreation company K1 Speed has signed a lease for 50,000 square feet in the Conejo Valley. The company will operate an indoor track at 770 Lawrence Drive. Lee & Associates LA North/Ventura industrial brokers Grant Fulkerson and Mike Tingus worked the transaction on behalf of landlord BM Properties. Rocky Moran of Lee & Associates represented K1 Speed in the deal. David Danglard, co-owner with Susan Danglard of K1 Speed, said in a statement, “Rocky Moran of Lee & Associates helped us with one of our first 50-acre land acquisitions for our premier outdoor facility many years ago.” Fulkerson told the Business Journal that San Diego-based K1 Speed wanted to get into the Conejo Valley market for years, but out of respect for rival MB2 Racing, which was situated on Lawrence Drive, the company didn’t move into the territory. Then MB2 vacated its facility two years ago and that gave K1 Speed the proverbial green light, according to Fulkerson. “They were longer concerned about hurting their competitor,” he said. K1 Speed is securing a conditional use permit with the city of Thousand Oaks after a few very positive conversations with city officials, said Fulkerson, who characterized the deal, which sets up a 10-year lease with a total value of about $7.5 million, as a very smooth in execution. Founded in 2003 by the Danglards, K1 Speed has 46 locations nationwide and abroad in such countries as Puerto Rico, France, Italy and China. Due for a late-summer grand opening, the Thousand Oaks site is K1 Speed’s second foray into the North L.A. market. Last month, the company signed a Burbank lease.WESTLAKE VILLAGEMannKind Corp. and United Therapeutics have reached a milestone in their licensing and collaboration agreement with a new drug application submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the partnership’s pulmonary arterial hypertension treatment. Called Tyvaso DPI, the inhalable dry powder of treprostinil (TreT) uses MannKind’s inhalation technology first commercialized for delivery of Afrezza, the Westlake Village company’s inhalable insulin. The partnership is also working on a Bluetooth-connected accessory for the Tyvaso DPI inhaler called BluHale, which monitors inhaler use through a mobile application. Tyvaso is also intended for patients with pulmonary hypertension associated with interstitial lung disease, MannKind said. The condition causes scarring and inflammation of tissue surrounding the lung’s air sacs, blood vessels and airways. There are currently about 30,000 treatable cases of the condition in the U.S. Maryland-based United Therapeutics applied for a priority review voucher through the FDA, which could lead to an early decision in December. “We are excited to see the second compound formulated with our technology complete a rigorous clinical development program,” Michael Castagna, chief executive of MannKind, said in a statement, referring to Afrezza, which uses the same inhaler technology. “If approved by the FDA, Tyvaso DPI is expected to provide a major advancement in the delivery of inhaled treprostinil.”— Compiled by Michael Aushenker

Michael Aushenker
Michael Aushenker
A graduate of Cornell University, Michael covers commercial real estate for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. Prior to the Business Journal, Michael covered the community and entertainment beats as a staff writer for various newspapers, including the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, The Palisadian-Post, The Argonaut and Acorn Newspapers. He has also freelanced for the Santa Barbara Independent, VC Reporter, Malibu Times and Los Feliz Ledger.
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