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Reseda Opts For Rehab

Along vacant lot at Reseda Boulevard and Kittridge Street is the site of a planned apartment building that is seen as a catalyst for change in a central section of the San Fernando Valley. On the 2.4 acre parcel at 6625 Reseda Blvd. will rise Watermark, a five-story 250-unit mixed use community built by Gelt-Uhon Development Holdings LLC with singles to three-bedroom units and amenities that include a gym, pool, spa, dog grooming area and a business center. Gelt-Uhon is a joint venture between Gelt Inc. in Tarzana and Uhon Inc., a Chinese company with offices in Pasadena that is owned by developer Shenzhen Yuhong. Pamela Scott, senior transaction manager at Gelt, said the firms were 50-50 partners in the Watermark in terms of financing the $90-million project and overseeing its construction. Gelt primarily owns real estate in Utah and Arizona but it was the lack of affordable housing in Los Angeles that prompted the company to pursue the Watermark. It bought the property two years ago from an owner who had received the entitlements to build an apartment building. With the Providence Tarzana Medical Center expanding with up to 1,000 new employees, they will need a place to live, Scott said. The health care facility is about a mile and half south down Reseda Boulevard. “Our apartments will be a place where hopefully some of their people might want to live,” she added. Rents will range from $1,300 to $3,500 per month. Attempts to reach Rushan Wu, chief executive of Uhon Inc., were not successful. But in a prepared statement, she said, “the Watermark’s proximity to the transportation system and the L.A. River, and the absence of recent new development, are going to make this area great.” In addition to the Watermark, Uhon has developed residential projects in Santa Clarita, Florida, New Mexico, Oregon, Colorado and Toronto, Canada. Four of those projects were done with Gelt. Revitalization Another supporter of the project is Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield. He said the apartment project was in line with what he wants to see to revitalize Reseda. He has an initiative called Reseda Rising to create an active, pedestrian friendly and vibrant neighborhood. “We are trying to bring it back with a vengeance and make it better than it has ever been,” Blumenfield said. The Watermark project brings multiple benefits to the Reseda neighborhood. First, it provides close proximity to the Los Angeles River. Pathways along the north bank of the river will be integrated into the bike lanes and walking paths and ultimately connect to the Los Angeles River-Aliso Creek Confluence Park, Blumenfield said. That 2-acre park is the heart of the revitalization of the Los Angeles River and creating a 51-mile linear park from Canoga Park to the ocean in Long Beach will be an attraction unlike what other cities have, he added. “This project is a gateway to that river dream,” Blumenfield continued. “It has been built that way, so it offers that entre into the river and the pathways.” Second, there is going to be a monument sign that Gelt will pay for in the median of Reseda Boulevard in front of the building. That sign will give Reseda its identity, Blumenfield said. Scott, however, could not confirm the monument sign. Lastly, taking a vacant lot that has been the source of complaints to the police due to taggers and homeless encampments and turning it into apartments sends a signal about the seriousness of wanting to bring change to the area. “It has been a real drag in terms of the economy and the spirit of the community,” Blumenfield said. “By replacing that empty lot with a beautiful building and a monument sign and a gateway to the river, it shows that Reseda is on the rise.”

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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