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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Neighborhood Council Seeks Changes to Sunkist Project

A Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council committee decided on Wednesday night to seek changes to a $100 million mixed-use project slated for the site of Sunkist’s headquarters. Ron Ziff, chairman of the council’s land use committee, told the Business Journal on Thursday that his committee had concerns over the traffic and parking problems that could be created by the 14130 Riverside Drive development. “We voted to work with the developer and make the project acceptable. It’s not the same as opposing it,” Ziff said. “Something is going to be built there. The real question is getting what will be built more acceptable.” IMT Capital Inc. in Sherman Oaks is proposing 208 one-bedroom and 98 two-bedroom apartments on the 8.3 acre property. The 320,000-square-foot development would include 40,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, 7,000 square feet of restaurants and a multilevel parking structure. The 43-year-old Sunkist office building, which the citrus cooperative sold to IMT last year but leased back through August, would be freshened up under preservation guidelines and leased as offices. The citrus cooperative is leaving the 123,000-square-foot structure for smaller space in Santa Clarita. Ziff said IMT did not assign any parking for trucks, which would make it difficult for moving trucks or even commercial deliveries. In the next month, Ziff intends to assign land use committee members to work with IMT on the proposal. Mark Armbruster, partner at law firm Armbruster Goldsmith & Delvac LLP in Los Angeles, who is working for IMT on the development, said in response to the council committee’s action that IMT intends to begin meeting with the working group. “It’s still early in the process. We’re glad they formed this working group and our client intends to work with them as we go forward to try and make some progress,” he said. IMT acquired the property in February 2013 from the 120-year-old citrus cooperative for about $36 million. Armbruster said the total cost of the project, including property, will be about $135 million. An environmental impact report is currently being prepared for the project. Sunkist Growers Inc. is in the process of moving its operations to the LNR Entrada Gateway Center at 27770 N. Entertainment Drive, which it bought for about $22 million last summer. Neither Sunkist nor representatives of IMT have stated whether the cooperative is being let out of the Sherman Oaks lease early.

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