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Japanese Grocer Sets Shop in Northridge

Mitsuwa brings Asian food court to Valley in fall.

Mitsuwa, the Japanese supermarket and restaurant food court, is opening up a new location in Northridge this fall.

Kyle Fishburn of Kennedy Wilson Brokerage’s Beverly Hills office represented the undisclosed owner on the 9,600-square-foot space, which was formerly a Pier 1 Imports at 8990 Tampa Ave.  

“Having a grocery store was definitely a target of ours,” Fishburn said. “This was a name that came up. We knew they potentially wanted to grow in the Valley.”

Mitsuwa has numerous locations in California, including in Torrance, Del Amo, Santa Monica, Irvine, Costa Mesa, San Gabriel, San Jose and San Diego. Outside of California, the company also has retail centers in Chicago, Texas, New Jersey and Hawaii.

With the San Fernando Valley location, Mitsuwa has signed a 10-year lease.

“The property was on the market for close to a year,” Fishburn said. “We were reaching out to local grocery stores and seeing who could be a good fit.”

Negotiations took longer than usual because of Mitsuwa’s parent company in Japan.

Howard Wong of Newmark, who represented Mitsuwa in the transaction, said discussions for the space began last summer and culminated last fall.

“This is an opportunity because there is a void in the Valley,” Wong said. “They’re excited by the great central location they got.”

“From a strategic standpoint, for North San Fernando Valley, this is a good location for them,” Fishburn said. “It’s highly visible. It’s going to have a really good presence.”

The site has easy freeway access and is located across from Northridge Fashion Center and not far from California State University – Northridge.

“We’re excited – this is an underserved market,” Wong said.

Wong noted that the area’s population makeup is perfect for a Mitsuwa location.

“The area has a great Asian demographic, too, although they are not relying strictly on just the Asian demographic,” Wong said. “The non-Asian demographic has shown that they enjoy (Mitsuwa) too.”

The Santa Monica location of Mitsuwa, which borders Mar Vista, is an example where the non-Asian market has transcended the Asian consumer segment. 

“The food court inside the grocery store has attracted many non-Asian customers,” said Wong of the part of the property devoted to udon and ramen stations.

Wong said the Northridge site will have a food court but not as large as the Santa Monica location.

“What makes the Mitsuwa concept unique is they have products from Japan versus just a local vendor,” Wong said. “You’re getting authenticity.”

Fishburn, who leased a 20,000-square-foot site to Harbor Freight Tools in Northridge and brokered the Fogo De Chao and My Salon Suites leases in Woodland Hills, said the Northridge Mitsuwa will act as the face of the retail center that is anchored by a Big Lots and also has such tenants as IHOP, Dollar Tree, FedEx, Bank of America and 85 Degree Bakery.

“It’s going on the corner and most visible,” Fishburn said. “One of the incentives for us to do this deal is turning this into a grocery store from a co-tenancy standpoint. It was a big win for us and for the future of the center.”

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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