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Selling Tony Area On Swap Meet

Could wealthy Newbury Park be getting its first swap meet? Where patrons bartering for deals on Japanese kimonos and roasted nuts rub shoulders with a clientele better known for dropping dollars at malls like The Oaks? It’s possible. Manny Asadurian, a developer with a long history in the Conejo Valley, has proposed what he is calling the Thousand Oaks Community Marketplace in an industrial neighborhood. His Thousand Oaks Marketplace Inc. has already signed a seven-year lease for 88,000 square feet of a building at 2300 Corporate Center Drive. And he plans to spend $300,000 to create locked booths for 150 tenants who will be able to secure a spot for monthly rentals starting at $800 without a long-term lease. So why Newbury Park? “It met with my criteria of a nicer area,” he said. “It’s to give people a chance to start a business at a low cost.” In keeping with the area, Asadurian has committed to the meet being family friendly. Sales of weapons, such as knives, and pornography will be prohibited. In addition, he plans on donating proceeds from the gate fee, a nominal amount of roughly $1.50, to three local charities. Still, it looks like Asadurian has work to do before his proposal becomes reality. Larry Braud, an executive at Dividend Capital, a Denver real estate investment company that owns buildings on Corporate Center Drive, made clear his company’s objections in a May 16 letter addressed to Thousand Oaks Mayor Claudia Bill-de la Pena. Traffic, crowd control and environmental impact were Braud’s chief concerns, but he also pointed to issues with this type of business. “A discount retail operation is inconsistent with the development intent and the current business composition along Corporate Center Drive,” the letter stated. Mickey Reiser, who will manage the swap meet, doesn’t believe that the traffic and crowd concerns are founded since the venue will operate only Friday through Sunday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. He also prefers the term “indoor mini-mall” and said it is only referred to as a swap meet due to zoning regulations. At a May 28 meeting, the Thousand Oaks City Council voted to table a vote on the proposal until their July 9 meeting. In the meantime, Asadurian and Reiser were asked to reach out to the project’s neighbors to allay any concerns. – Rosie Downey

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