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Thursday, Sep 21, 2023

Work Begins on Long-Delayed Mixed-Use Project

The long vacant 40-year-old Kmart store at Corbin Avenue and Plummer Street in Northridge was finally demolished to make way for a mixed use project being developed by Fairfield Residential LLC. Residents and nearby businesses heard the loud rumblings of falling walls as demolition crews leveled the structure during the second week of January. Ed McCoy, vice president at Fairfield Residential, said construction is moving forward for the approved development of 416 apartments over 15,000 square feet of retail space. The project, which is adjacent to the Northridge Fashion Center, is expected to be completed by mid 2013. “We’re all excited to get the project moving forward; it has been a long time in the works,” he said. Development of the site was first proposed in 2007, when the property was acquired by Fairfield for $42 million. However, the collapse of the U.S. real estate and capital markets had a deep impact on Fairfield Residential, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. As a result the Northridge project came to a halt. As the San Diego-based company sought to restructure its financial obligations through Chapter 11, the bank lender for the proposed development on the Kmart site took the property back. It was later sold to another institution which made an agreement with Fairfield to move forward with the development of the project. Vacant property Many local residents applauded the beginning of efforts to reinvigorate the nine-acre site which has remained vacant for more than two years. The development’s proximity to restaurants and the regional mall will likely help boost economic activity in the area, they say. However, other residents raised concerns over the impact that they say the construction of the development is already having on their houses. Local resident Lisette C., said the demolition efforts sent strong jolts that made the ground shake under adjacent properties. “We’re not talking about a candelabra falling from a table, we’re talking about stones falling from walls,” said Lisette, explaining that one neighbor reported cobblestones falling off from above her fireplace as a result of the jolts. Others, including Lisette, have reported cracks in their walls, which they say have appeared since construction began. “We’re worried that this construction may be causing structural damage to our properties,” said Lisette, whose home on Ballinger is about 125 feet from the construction site. Fairfield Residential did not comment on these concerns. Lisette said both representatives from Fairfield and inspectors from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety have been notified and have committed to come out and inspect the alleged damage on these properties.

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