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Saturday, Mar 2, 2024

Bring on the Units

The bedroom communities of Canoga Park and Reseda may seem sleepy by comparison to North Hollywood or Woodland Hills, yet there is more going on than meets the eye in these Valley neighborhoods, with new commercial and residential developments, purchases and overhauls in recent months. Located in the Valley’s center, with the neighborhood of Winnetka between them, these residential communities lie just north of Ventura Boulevard and the 101 Freeway — close enough for easy boulevard and freeway access, yet far enough to remain undisturbed by the commercial hustle and bustle. The longtime home of Aerojet Rocketdyne, Canoga Park — bordered by Woodland Hills on the south, West Hills along the west, Winnetka east and Chatsworth to the north— came into fruition by March 1931 as a sizable neighborhood. In fact, West Hills is former Canoga Park land that was renamed in 1987. Reseda — bordered by Northridge, Lake Balboa, Tarzana, Encino and Winnetka— is de facto defined by its street boundaries — Roscoe Boulevard along the north, White Oak Avenue on the east, Corbin Avenue abutting the west, and Victory Boulevard on the south. Woodland Hills resident David Honda, longtime principle of David Honda Construction, said that the building going on in Reseda and Canoga Park is impressive given how hard it is to navigate with city of Los Angeles bureaucracy. “Simple tenant improvement permits are next to impossible,” Honda said. “The lockdown does not help.” Honda is currently in the throes of finishing up a commercial renovation of 18050 Vanowen St. in Reseda. An example of creative redevelopment, the Child Development Institute involved a use change from an old church to a childcare facility. As Honda told the Business Journal: “This remodel project consists of the main church building and remodel of the smaller consulting offices. The project was permitted in January of 2019. We are finishing up landscaping.” He noted how work on the project has only been made more complicated by the coronavirus outbreak. “Advancing on construction is difficult at best,” Honda said. “Trying to keep workers six feet apart has issues, along with everyone wearing a mask. I find it better to schedule different trades separately, so the crews are with the same company, i.e. electrical, plumbing and HVAC. This is not an efficient way to do business, but everyone feels safer with fewer workers to interact with.” Residential rally Reseda has seen a lot of civic investment of late. In 2017, the city of Los Angeles announced a $17 million budget toward upgrading a 2.5-mile segment of Reseda Boulevard long considered dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. The project, which would span north-to-south between Parthenia Street and Victory Boulevard, proposed protected left-turn signals and improved bike lanes, plus improvements to city parking lots at Reseda Boulevard and Sherman Way. Simultaneously, City Councilman Bob Blumenfield has been investing in cultural improvements, such as the resurrection of the dormant Reseda Theater. In tandem with the civic movements, Reseda has seen several commercial sites purchased, while both Reseda and Canoga Park have benefited from the spillover of residential tower development driven by the Warner Center 2035 Specific Plan in Woodland Hills. Most of the development will bring more bedrooms to the market in the form of multifamily properties. Most prominently in Reseda, Tarzana-based Gelt Inc. has aligned with Uhon Inc., the Pasadena-based U.S. arm of Chinese developer Shenzhen Yuhong Investment Group Limited Co., to build the $90 million Watermark Apartments — a five-story, 250-unit project at 6625 Reseda Blvd. designed for relatively affordable rents of $1,300 to $3,500 per month. Watermark is expected to come online by year’s end. There is also developer CityView’s Mira apartments, just south of the Los Angeles River on the Warner Center perimeter. Designed by Calabasas-based Ken Stockton Architects, the 21425 W. Vanowen St. complex will see a six-story structure with 174 units rise above a parking plan to accommodate 245 vehicles. Greystar will manage the apartments — a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging $2,140 to $3,275 per month. There is also a nearby, unrelated seven-story, 101-apartment complex with a retail component coming up at 21121 Vanowen St. A year-and-a-half after breaking ground, Michael Adler-led Adler Realty Investments, with Quillin Group and Strategic Realty Holdings, have been diligently establishing 37 one- and two-bedroom units at Skye at Warner Center. The 20944 Vanowen St. address will soon see six stories designed by architect Daryoush Safai. This apartment complex foreshadows Adler Realty’s ambitious mixed-use project in Canoga Park: a long-gestating 24-acre mixed-use add-on to the firm’s office park on De Soto Avenue and Burbank Boulevard that will bring housing, retail, hotel and more office space online. In late April, developer Alan Tabibi and engineering company Core & Associates submitted plans to convert a small lot home on a half-acre at 18431 Arminta St. in Reseda into a quartet of homes. Meanwhile, Thomas Safran & Associates will build a four-story, 26-unit senior living complex, designed by William Hezmalhalch Architects, at 7219-7227 N. Canby Ave. in Reseda. Championed by Blumenfield, the city of Los Angeles is evaluating potentially building affordable or permanent supportive housing on two Reseda parking lots — lots 712 and 624, located at 7246 and 7222 Baird Ave. respectively. The motion on the contiguous sites, comprising 1.15 acres, has been referred to the City Council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee for consideration. Commercial transactions In March, an industrial site in Reseda used as an ambulance dispatch center traded hands for $2.2 million. Located at 7046 Darby Ave., the two-story warehouse sale lies within a federal Opportunity Zone, which provides tax breaks for property owners. Adult Medical Transportation operates out of the 35-car facility. NAI Capital’s Senior Vice President Matt Ehrlich in the brokerage’s Encino office negotiated the sale of the 6,085-square-foot industrial building on behalf of the seller. In April, a 13,000-square-foot retail property, anchored by Walgreens and Yogurtland in Reseda, sold for $9.3 million. The Walgreens was dark at the time of sale of 6410 Tampa Ave. The pharmacy, which had vacated the premises, still holds a lease through 2034. Brandon Michaels and Lior Regenstreif, senior managing director investment specialists at the Encino office of Calabasas-based brokerage Marcus & Millichap Inc., represented both seller and buyer.

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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