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Set Shop Erects New Headquarters in Sylmar

While Burbank and its boosters are swooning over plans to construct the country’s largest Ikea store, there are some legitimate businesses that are losing out. Sort of. Vision Scenery Corp. has inked a lease to move its business fabricating sets for the entertainment industry from Burbank to substantially larger space in Sylmar, where it got quite the deal. The company will move July 1 into a 100,000-square-foot building at 12450 Foothill Blvd., doubling the size of its space at 26 E. Providencia Ave. that is within the 22 acres slated for the new Ikea. The firm is subleasing the new space for a little more than two years and then will begin an eight-year lease with landlord 102 Group Investment Co. of Arleta. Vision Scenery will be paying 40 cents a square foot during the sublease and 43 cents later. That puts the total value of the lease in the neighborhood of $5.3 million. Average asking rates in the East Valley in the first quarter were 51 cents a square foot, according to the L.A. office of Colliers International. “We got a great deal on the place,” said Debbie Novick, Vision’s office manager. “The owners were having trouble renting it because of the slope so we got a good deal.” The 450-foot-long floor drops 6 feet, but with the company handcrafting sets – not doing high-tech manufacturing – it wasn’t much of an issue. Gian Starita, vice president at the Encino office of Colliers International, who represented Vision Scenery, said he spent nearly a year unsuccessfully trying to find the company a roomy new space near the studios. “It’s certainly a bit challenging. They emphasized the geography and how much space they needed. You go from there,” he said. “We just looked at every building by those parameters.” Novick said Burbank officials never approached the company about what was happening with Ikea and its plans to build a 470,000-square-foot store. She finally attended a City Council meeting to get an update, and that’s when the city provided relocation assistance she called “aggravating.” “All they offered was to suggest a broker,” Novick said. “I can do that myself. We were looking for some sort of financial assistance. But it all worked out.” Mary Hamzoian, economic development manager for the city, said a packet with a list of available properties in the city and contact information for landlords and brokers were handed out to all 15 of the businesses in the Ikea area during the March 14 meeting. She also said it was incumbent upon landlord Crown Realty and Development Inc., the Irvine owner of the Ikea land and the Burbank Town Center, to talk to its tenants, which were on month-to-month leases. “We want to keep all of the businesses in the city, but we had no authority to let tenants know they were going to be relocated,” she said. “It’s not our land. We’re not relocating them.” Van Lloyd, senior account executive with the Newport Beach office of Mohr Partners Inc., represented Orora Ltd., a Melbourne box maker in the sublease, and Ross Thomas at Delphi Business Properties Inc. in Van Nuys represented the building owner. Critical Mass Multifamily projects are starting to take shape in Warner Center, where the new Warner Center 2035 Specific Plan encourages future large-scale development. Construction is well underway on the largest development, the 395-unit Millennium Woodland Hills going up on the former headquarters of movie camera maker Panavision. The project launched before the passing of the specific plan. The project by Houston developer Dinerstein Cos., which bought the property a decade ago, will have 198 one-bedroom, 158 two-bedroom and 45 three-bedroom units, with monthly rents ranging from about $1,800 to $3,000, said Josh Vasbinder, West Coast partner for Dinerstein. The 6219 De Soto Ave. project also will feature five courtyards with multiple pools, a fitness center and a dog park. It should be available for some pre-leasing by the end of the year, with construction complete by the middle of next year. “We’ve stayed ahead of this new wave of construction. Timing is your best friend sometimes,” said Vasbinder, who called the project “world class” but declined to disclose construction costs. Dinerstein is an experienced multifamily developer having built more than 50,000 apartment units in some 25 states. But it’s facing quite a bit of competition in Warner Center. Sares-Regis Group of Irvine is nearing completion of its 340-unit Boulevard at 20600 Ventura Blvd. next to the 663-unit Avalon Woodland Hills. The new projects follow the completion last fall of the 298-unit Alta Warner Center on the Metro Orange Line at 6701 Eton Ave. in Canoga Park, developed by Wood Partners of Atlanta. Under the Warner Center 2035 Specific Plan passed in October, it’s expected the number of residential units in the district will about double to 20,000, bringing 42,000 additional residents. Staff Reporter Elliot Golan can be reached at (818)316-3123 or egolan@sfvbj.com.

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