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Saturday, Sep 23, 2023

KB Home Gets Schooling on Small-Lot Tract

Los Angeles homebuiler KB Home is set to go vertical on a so-called “small-lot” housing tract at the site of the former Pinecrest School in Van Nuys. KB picked up the property quietly in November from Mountain Real Estate Group, a Charlotte, N.C. developer that got plans for the project approved but then decided to pull out. The private school was demolished earlier this year and KB is in the process of grading the land, with plans to begin home construction in the fall. The school operated at 14111 and 14135 Sherman Way for more than 60 years before it closed and sold off the property last year. KB’s plans include the construction of four single-family homes adjacent to an existing cul-de-sac and 128 detached homes under the city’s small-lot ordinance, which allows only five inches between house walls. Tom DiPrima, executive vice president of the Southern California division of KB Home, said he expects models at the development dubbed Greenwood Square to open later this year with a grand opening in 2015. “We think that demand for this should be very, very strong. There are just not a lot of choices for new homes in the San Fernando Valley and it’s near huge employment centers,” he said. DiPrima would not disclose how much KB paid for the land or how much it is investing in the construction. However, he expects pricing of the small-lot houses to be in the mid-to-high $400,000s. The homes will be three stories with models of either two- or three-bedrooms measuring between 1,400 and 1,700 square feet. The larger traditional homes will be three- and four-bedrooms between 2,300 and 2,600 square feet. All will feature water- and energy-saving features, including LED lighting and low-flow toilets and showers. Pinecrest began operating on the land in 1951 and had about 400 students from pre-schoolers through the eighth grade. Off-Market Deal The blockbuster deal that saw the 1.2-million-square-foot Fallbrook Center change hands for $210 million was put together quicker than usual. San Diego real estate investment trust Retail Opportunities Investment Corp. bought the outdoor mall in West Hills from General Growth Properties Inc. of Chicago on June 2 – less than a month after negotiations started. Retail Opportunities Chief Executive Stuart Tanz said his firm had long liked the property and, after approached, General Growth was receptive about selling even though the mall was not on the market. “We’ve been looking at the deal for some time, but the deal came together over a three-week period,” he said, in an email interview. General Growth declined to comment. The Fallbrook Center, which decades ago was an indoor mall before a renovation, runs along Fallbrook Avenue from Victory Boulevard to Vanowen Street. The center is 98 percent leased to high-profile tenants, including Trader Joe’s, Home Depot, 24 Hour Fitness, and Wal-Mart. “Usually mall conversions don’t work well,” Tanz said. “However, this one is just the opposite – it didn’t work well as an enclosed mall, but works extremely well as an outdoor, daily necessity, entertainment and dining retail property.” Tanz said the company will treat Fallbrook Center as a “flagship property,” and the firm intends to make some aesthetic improvements with signage, landscaping and storefronts. Retail Opportunities owned 56 shopping centers totaling about 6 million square feet of retail space as of March 31, including the 100,000-square-foot Plaza de la Canada in La Canada-Flintridge, according to its website. Landmark for Lease The former headquarters of defunct mortgage lender Countrywide Financial has been put on the market for lease. The 233,000-square-foot building at 4500 Park Granada in Calabasas was bought by Rising Realty Partners in the fourth quarter from Bank of America Corp. of Charlotte, N.C. for $200 million as part of a portfolio of 10 office buildings in the greater Valley. The bank, which inherited the properties when it purchased Countrywide Financial in 2008, has already vacated two in Lancaster and one in Simi Valley. The 20-acre Park Granada property was developed in 1986 as the headquarters of Lockheed Corp., which later moved to Bethesda, Md. Bank of America’s mortgage lending unit still occupies the offices and might or might not stay, so Rising is planning for the future. “While the current tenant may well renew, it is appropriate that we review all our options given that this is a premiere trophy property in Southern California,” said Rising Realty President Christopher Rising, in a statement. Staff Reporter Elliot Golan can be reached at (818)316-3123 or egolan@sfvbj.com.

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