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Old December 7th, 2006, 06:28 AM   #1
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San Fernando Valley | Development News

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...home-headlines

Universal City: Now with residents?
The studio plans to transform its back lot into a residential neighborhood with 2,900 units.
By Roger Vincent and Amanda Covarrubias, Times Staff Writers
3:28 PM PST, December 6, 2006


Universal City, already the world's largest movie studio lot, will also become a major office and residential hub if $3 billion worth of improvements proposed today are approved.

The proposal by owner NBC Universal would transform the 391-acre property and adjacent land into more of an urban center. The historic studio would continue to operate its theme park and make movies and television shows, while adding a residential neighborhood with 2,900 units on its back lot that would be served by a new north-south street through the property.

The 25-year plan also calls for new production facilities, restaurants, stores, a hotel and improvements to both the studio tour and Universal CityWalk retail and entertainment center.

The proposal won praise from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and some other political leaders, but reaction from neighborhood activists concerned about traffic and congestion was mixed.

The proposal would conform to current urban planning trends that call for denser development around public transportation nodes. Universal is adjacent to a Metro Rail subway stop.

"This is really a chance for us to take Universal into the next century," said Ron Meyer, president of the studio. "The plan makes sense for the community too."

Universal officials intend to file development applications with the city and county in early 2007 and begin an approval process that could take more than two years. The studio urgently needs more production facilities because it is often operating at 95% of capacity, Meyer said.

Universal's 30 soundstages are usually booked 24 hours a day, with internal productions having to share space with outside television, commercial and movie productions that rent the spaces.

Plans call for a new studio and office campus, across Lankershim Boulevard on parking lots around the subway station, to be built by Los Angeles developer Thomas Properties Group.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 06:31 AM   #2
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Pictures please.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 07:42 AM   #3
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Wow, I hope they do it right. I wouldn't want to be on the Backlot Tram stuck in traffic.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 08:09 AM   #4
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I could just see it now...

"Oh yeah, where do you live?"

- "Universal City."

"In the backlot???"

- "Yep."

"So do I! I live at E.T. Gardens! Which building are you?"

- "Frankenstein Arms."
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Old December 7th, 2006, 07:16 PM   #5
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sorry to be so lame guys. but what is the back lot?
is that were all the back to the future sets are?
i was oogling google and did not see much open space or anything...

please explane!
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Old December 7th, 2006, 08:01 PM   #6
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I'm looking back there right now (I work in the skyscraper at universal). There's a golf coarse they could build on, and there's some space around barham which is probably where they'll put it. There's not enough traffic on Barham right now. They're not going to put it on the lot and have random people walking around there.
There are a few production warehouses they could tear down. Maybe with all the work they are outsourcing they don't need the space anymore.
I wonder if they get to use universal's DMV.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 09:29 PM   #7
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Here's the pic from the LA times article. It's actually where I used to work. Barham is gonna be jammed.

>Edit: Actually that new road will take you to the 101
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:26 PM   #8
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hey maybe they can use all that dirt there gona be moving to make santa monica island!


seems like a difficult spot for such a large scale project
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Old December 8th, 2006, 04:33 AM   #9
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I didnt see the pic when i posted the article. Anyways, I have mixed feelings about the village. On a good note, its located nearly smack dab between the studios over there. Easy access from both Universal as well as WB. However, its a hike from the subway station with a big hill in between. They better speed up that tram they have running there now if they want people to live in the village and use the subway.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 05:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danparker276 View Post
I'm looking back there right now (I work in the skyscraper at universal). There's a golf coarse they could build on, and there's some space around barham which is probably where they'll put it. There's not enough traffic on Barham right now. They're not going to put it on the lot and have random people walking around there.
There are a few production warehouses they could tear down. Maybe with all the work they are outsourcing they don't need the space anymore.
I wonder if they get to use universal's DMV.


Dan, since you have a good visual of the future project area. Can you snap some pix for us to check out.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 05:39 AM   #11
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The project sounds great, but IMO very risky [price]. Hopefully the neighborhood contributes along with the city itself, and most importantly: construction prices.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 05:51 AM   #12
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how much of the project is in la city vs. unincorporated la county?
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Old December 8th, 2006, 06:11 AM   #13
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...and i hope they do something at the edge of the LA river. WTF, nobody ever thinks that the river exists!...and solong, you're right, how will they connect this development with the redline station? build another road or provide shuttle? that sucks....
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Old December 11th, 2006, 01:31 AM   #14
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From shopping centers to lifestyle centers
Shopping malls are finally fulfilling their original destiny: re-creating the essence of urban life.
By Virginia Postrel, Virginia Postrel (dynamist.com) is a columnist for the Atlantic and the author of "The Substance of Style."
December 10, 2006


I WAS SHOCKED the first time I went to Universal CityWalk, several months after it opened in 1993. I'd read all about the place beforehand. Social critics had proclaimed it the new white-flight fortress against the crime, disorder and diversity of real city life. It exemplified "a Victorian-style separation of classes in our public life," wrote Norman Klein. George Will called CityWalk "a melancholy comment on metropolitan America." Mike Davis said, "It fulfills our worst prophecies." At best, CityWalk was a fake city, built for customers who, in Lewis Lapham's words, "had no intention of going to see the original city four miles to the south."

After that buildup, I expected something at least as visionary and disturbing as Disneyland. What I found was a mall. Yes, it was outdoors and full of tourist traps. The store facades were more exuberant than the typical Banana Republic. But it was still just a shopping center. CityWalk seemed no more revolutionary — and less fortress-like — than the Beverly Center. What a letdown.

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A decade later, I returned to see what had happened to the famous harbinger of Fortress Los Angeles. On a Sunday evening in July, the place was absolutely packed. Families and friends by the hundreds were out enjoying the bustle, the neon lights, the night air, the music blasting from the public stage. A few people carried shopping bags, but most seemed just to be hanging out. Contrary to the prophets of a decade earlier, they were generally locals, and I was about the only pale-faced blond in sight. CityWalk wasn't separate from the real Los Angeles. It was emphatically part of it. It seemed less like a mall this time and more like a city.

That, I now realize, was itself a false dichotomy — a remnant of postwar suburban thinking. Real city living has always been about commerce and security, the two main reasons people gather in close proximity. (A third is finding sexual partners.) Those who condemn malls for offering havens might as well condemn hybrid cars for not burning enough gas; these critics mistake the side effects of urban density for its purposes. Like mall visitors all over the country, CityWalk patrons aren't looking to escape urban life but to experience its pleasures.

In fact, CityWalk says far more about the state of shopping centers than it does about the state of cities. Over the last decade and a half, the once-monolithic mall has become more diversified, more aesthetically appealing and more porous. Outdoor "lifestyle centers," often without department stores, are reinventing the city street, while traditional malls revamp to provide more entertainment, more restaurants, more appealing public spaces and more reasons to linger. After five decades of experiment and evolution, the American shopping center is finally beginning to fulfill its inventor's dream: to re-create the human-scale European city "filled, morning and evening, day and night, weekdays and Sundays, with urban dynamism."

That dreamer's name was Victor Gruen, an architect in exile. In the mid-20th century, he lived in Beverly Hills but longed for Vienna, the city he'd been driven from by the Nazis. Like many emigres, he missed the cafes and conversation that defined Central European cities before the war. "I haven't seen people sit at sidewalk tables on Ventura Boulevard because there is nothing to look at," he lamented. To recover that lost urbanity, Gruen invented the shopping mall, imagining it as a human-scale alternative to the impersonal canyons of industrial downtowns and the drive-by anomie of postwar suburbia. The shopping center of his imagination would include not only stores but "a community center, an auditorium, a children's play area, a large number of public eating places and, in the courts and malls, opportunities for relaxation, exhibits and public events." It would be, as we say now, a "third place," a congenial gathering spot separate from home and work.

Gruen sold his designs to retailers and succeeded as a commercial architect. But the economics of the time left his dreams severely compromised. Instead of centers of sociability, developers built "machines for shopping," designed to move customers efficiently from store to store, stopping only for essential fuel. In their day, malls were pretty exciting. Those of us who grew up in the 1960s and '70s can recall the thrill of having big, climate-controlled spaces where you could walk without fearing the elements (a major selling point in most of the country) or dodging cars. Unfortunately, there was no place to sit comfortably — surely a reason that most of the people socializing at the mall were teenagers walking in groups. Architecturally, malls were monolithic buildings, physically and psychologically separated from their environment. To the road, they presented nothing more inviting than a department store sign. The action was on the inside.

That old model has lost its appeal. For pure shopping efficiency, a big-box discounter is cheaper, a drive-up center is faster and an online retailer doesn't make you leave your desk. To compete, malls have finally realized the rest of Gruen's original vision, adapting it to the contemporary scene. Children's play areas, soft seating to encourage relaxation and lots of those "public eating places" have become de rigueur. Instead of getting shoppers in and out to buy shoes, today's malls encourage them to hang out, working on laptops or chatting with friends. It's the Starbucks strategy: provide an appealing environment so that people will make it a part of their daily life and spend money while they're there. You may come for the Wi-Fi, but you'll pick up a sandwich and maybe a shirt or two.

Hence the Westfield Group's $330-million expansion of its Topanga center in Canoga Park included a children's "Playtown" with a double-decker carousel. The $127-million renovation of the Westfield Century City mall upgraded the AMC theater and replaced the old food court with a large upstairs terrace offering fresher fare, more stylish surroundings and, on occasion, live music. It's a 21st century cafe, a place to talk, work, read or just enjoy the sun. Just off Santa Monica Boulevard, you can sit at a sidewalk table and have plenty to see.

The traditional enclosed mall, even in its retrofitted and reinvigorated form, can't fully represent the new urbanity. For that, you have to turn to large-scale lifestyle centers — the Grove is a midsized local example — that re-create the urban street. Lifestyle centers have grown as the department stores on which traditional malls relied have shrunk. Specialty retailers are still looking for new locations, and Chico's and Build-a-Bear Workshop can't wait for space until Macy's is ready to commit to new malls. Like malls, lifestyle centers segregate their parking from pedestrian areas, making them different from old-fashioned strip centers. With their smaller shops and open-air design, they resemble city streets. Many feature apartments, offices or hotels.

Take SanTan Village, now rising in Gilbert, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix. Describing itself as "a 500-acre urban village," the development includes 18 buildings laid out along a grid of streets, some of which will allow cars, with parking areas scattered throughout. Like modern enclosed malls, SanTan Village will group similar stores together — teen wares here, luxury goods there, mid-priced fashion over here — to save time and encourage related purchases. But because this shopping center has no central doors to shut at 9 p.m., restaurants and theaters can stay open late even if the children's stores are closed. Here, in exurbia U.S.A., the shopping center has reinvented the pedestrian-oriented city street.

Surprisingly, even in the heat of Phoenix, open-air centers ring up the highest sales per square foot. "The shopper has voted with their dollars by saying they enjoy that outdoor experience," said David Scholl, a senior vice president of development at Westcor, SanTan Village's Phoenix-based developer. (Westcor is owned by Macerich Co., the Santa Monica-based real estate investment trust.) "A husband and wife can go out and spend three or four hours seeing a movie and dinner and strolling the streets of a lifestyle center," Scholl said. "I think that given the choice, people would love to be outside."

As if to prove the point, plans were announced last week for a major new residential and office development adjacent to Universal CityWalk. Shoppers are no longer trying to escape their environment but to enjoy it. Even in suburbia they value the hum of city life.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/...ome-commentary
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Old February 14th, 2007, 04:30 AM   #15
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Do we know what the status is on this massive project?

Any new updates?
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Old February 16th, 2007, 07:47 AM   #16
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Posted date: 2/5/2007
Sheraton Universal Sold for $120 Million

By Chris Coates
San Fernando Valley Business Journal Staff

The 436-room Sheraton Universal Hotel has been sold to a Brentwood real estate investment and development firm for $122 million.

Lowe Enterprises will buy the 20-story hotel from Walton Street Capital LLC and SCS Advisors, which paid around $50 million for the property just four years ago.

That quick uptick in price is the result of increased attention on Universal City, where parent company NBC Universal plans to spend $3 billion over the next decade to expand the studio, theme park and office portion of the complex and add a residential element.

Robert T. Patterson, president of the L.A. hotel consulting firm Paradigm Hospitality, said Lowe saw an opportunity and went for it.

“They paid what they thought they needed to pay for it,” he said.

And they may have overpaid – Patterson questioned whether the hotel is worth $122 million, or almost $280,000 a room.

“(The price) implies a room rate of $300 a night, and I doubt the property was achieving that much a night. It seems high,” he said. “But the buyer sees some upside potential and there’s a scarcity of property.”

Lowe officials don’t argue that they wanted to get in on the action at Universal City early.

“With NBC Universal announcing plans to expand its studio operations and build a new business campus, the hotel is uniquely positioned to benefit from future growth in the market,” said Bleecker Seaman, managing director of Lowe Enterprises Investors, in a statement.

The company also plans to invest an additional $20 million to upgrade guest rooms, common areas and the hotel’s 40,000 square feet of meeting space. Plans also call for a new coffee shop in the lobby.

Construction is scheduled to start this spring and finish by 2008.

Sheraton will continue to manage the hotel.

The last major renovation of the 8.5-acre property was in 1978. The hotel was developed in 1968 by Universal Studios to serve the hilltop park’s growing attendance. In June 2003, the theme park’s then-owner, Vivendi Universal, sold the hotel to a group led by Chicago-based Walton Street. An official with the investment company said the owner had no comment about the sale. It was their only property in the Valley.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 07:48 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferneynism View Post
Do we know what the status is on this massive project?

Any new updates?
To speak the truth, I don't like this project.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 09:04 AM   #18
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The Sheraton Universal or the massive back lot project?
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Old February 16th, 2007, 09:56 AM   #19
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Absolutely massive back lot project.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:00 AM   #20
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NOHO TOD's

NOHO TOD's

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.tndwest.com/northhollywood.html



North Hollywood






Although the automobile still reigns supreme in the Los Angeles basin, the rail and bus systems continue to expand steadily; and along with this expansion, there is considerable progress being made in the creation of transit villages around a number of key METRO stations.

Most of the attention in recent years has been focused on the Gold Line, but in the near future it will likely be the Red and Purple Lines that become the subjects of study by TOD enthusiasts. A half dozen stations in Hollywood and the Wilshire District have become magnets for mixed-use growth, and by 2010, these lines could have a number of functioning transit villages.

What makes these stations an interesting study are the different personalties that they are developing. For example, planners are attempting to expand an arts and theatre district at North Hollywood, while the station at Hollywood and Highland seems destined to remain primarily a tourist destination. Meanwhile, Hollywood and Western has developed as a center for low-income housing. Farther south, the focus at two of the Wilshire Stations (Western and Vermont) seems to be on providing housing, entertainment and cultural venues for wealthy Koreans. Then there is the fabled intersection of Hollywood and Vine which may have the best chance of all to evolve into the sort of well-rounded transit community that most planners would envision.


Metro Gold Line TODs
Del Mar Station (Old Town Pasadena)
Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles (Avenue 26)
Memorial Park (Holly Street Village)
Mission Meridian Village, South Pasadena
Metro Red Line TODs
Hollywood and Highland
Hollywood and Vine
Hollywood and Western
North Hollywood
Metro Purple Line TODs
Wilshire and Vermont
Wilshire and Western




An imaginative early rendering of the proposed transit village at North Hollywood Metro Station



North Hollywood Transit Center

North Hollywood is an up-and-coming TOD that is located at the terminus for both the Orange Line (the 14-mile Rapid Bus Line that runs west to Canoga Park) and the Red Line (the light-rail line that connects Hollywood with downtown LA).



The CRA Project Boundaries (Transit station area outlined)


The area around the Metro station is one of the targets of the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency and consists of 740 acres (a little more than one square mile) centered on Lankershim Blvd—a major thoroughfare that runs diagonally through the heart of North Hollywood. The area is known popularly as “NoHo” and is a burgeoning arts and theatre district that is best known for being the home of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

For more than 20 years, the area has been the subject of intense planning by the City, local developers, neighborhood residents (and more recently, the Urban Land Institute which prepared an extensive study of the community). By the end of 2006, the area surrounding the Metro Station already had more than 2000 new residential units completed or under construction.

In addition, construction had already begun on the first of two commercial projects just south of the METRO station that will add some badly needed shops and restaurants, along with a full-service grocery and a seven-screen theatre. And, beyond that, the City was in the act of circulating an RFQ seeking proposals for mixed-use development of the 16 acres closest to the station (now vacant or the site of surface parking lots). Plans are also in the works to renovate the historic Lankershim Train Depot which sits on the same parcel as the Orange Line Rapid Bus Station.





Some specifics:

The Neighborhood. Located about one mile north of Universal Studios, NoHo is a diverse mix of older residences and apartments, auto dealerships and repair shops, small warehouses, a few retail shops and cafes, and, to the south, a large arts district serving as the home and workplace to many hundreds of aspiring artists, actors, directors and producers. In 2006, the southern half of the CRA territory contained 22 small theatres along with numerous dance studios, art galleries, recording and rehearsal venues, and supporting businesses.

While the ULI Study expressed some doubts about NoHo’s future as an important player in the Hollywood/Los Angeles art, music and drama scene, it concluded that there was a sufficiently well formed community to make it the focus of future development.





One of NoHo's many entertainment venues



The area starts with several nearby assets, including one of the LA Area’s largest green areas (North Hollywood Park) and the arts and retail area south of Magnolia that is within walking distance of the new residential projects. It also has an elementary school and high school within walking distance of most of the new residences. (But how many families with children will opt for this urban life style?) Throw in some office buildings, a post office, a refurbished train depot, a grocery store, and a new movie theatre and it sounds like a legitimate community in the making.
Moreover, NoHo contains hundreds of vacant lots and under-utilized parcels (mostly occupied by warehouses and used car lots). These provide many opportunities for future development, and, while some of the fervor has been dampened by the housing slump, new projects continue to break ground.




North Hollywood Metro entrance


Transit. The city’s transit system is obviously a major factor in the singling out of NoHo for future growth. The acknowledged center of the project is the colorful shell-like structure that sits over the entrance to the underground light rail. This is the final station on the Red Line that generates a train into downtown Los Angeles every 12 minutes. The trip to LA Center takes about 25 minutes, and it is another three minutes to Union Station (where a passenger can connect with heavy rail lines running to all parts of the LA basin). It is almost possible to reach many other METRO destinations (such as Pasadena, Long Beach, Norwalk and Redondo Beach) with a transfer at Metro Center or Union Station.
Just east of the light rail entrance is a large loop for buses that are delivering and picking up light rail passengers to and from various communities surrounding North Hollywood. A half-dozen routes stop at the North Hollywood station, and a rider can reach the nearby Burbank Airport in 20 to 35 minutes (with one transfer).





Orange Line Metroliner loading passengers at North Hollywood station



Across the street from the Metro Light Rail Station is the terminus of the Orange Line—the Rapid Bus system that has vehicles running every five to ten minutes between Warner Center in Canoga Park and North Hollywood. These modernistic buses move quickly through the San Fernando Valley on a combination of dedicated busways and conventional streets (where the signals are synchronized in favor of the buses).

Modeled after the world’s most elaborate rapid bus system in Curitba, Brazil, the Orange Line has attracted national attention since it opened in the fall of 2005. As on most light rail lines, the stations are about one mile apart, and riders purchase their tickets in advance from dispensing machines on the platforms. The Orange Line is supported with park-and-ride lots, bicycle lanes, and bike storage lockers at various stations. While it is too early to determine the extent to which the Orange Line will encourage residency at North Hollywood, it is clearly an attractive option for those traveling east in the San Fernando Valley. The entire east-west journey takes about 44 minutes.




Initial Construction. The prime mover for the first several years has been the J. H. Snyder Company which is in the process of constructing a four-part project to the east and south of the 10-acre Metro Station parking lot. The first two residential complexes were completed in 2006, and the next two phases will add substantial retail elements (along with additional housing units) on Lankershim between Chandler Street and Magnolia Blvd. When the project is completed, Snyder will have put 880 residential units within a block of the transit stations.

The $200 million project has received substantial city and federal subsidies (including $14 million from HUD). In exchange, the developer agreed to participate in a “Community Benefits” plan in which there was agreement to hire and train lower income workers, build a child care center, agree to pay more than minimum wage, and to set aside 20 per cent of the residential units for low-income families.

Architects for the project were the Jerde Partnership (for the Master Plan and the final phase) and Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh (for NoHo Commons).





The Gallery at NoHo Commons



J. H. Snyder’s largest complex is the Gallery at No Ho Commons, a 438-unit apartment building situated directly east of the Metro parking lot. This development (under separate ownership from the rest of NoHo Commons), has an impressive entrance on Fair Street, but is essentially a gated community with all access from the internal areas and underground parking. The only contribution to the community is in the form of a grass area along the southern edge (on Chandler Blvd), and this may be gated as well.

Gallery rental rates are regarded as high for the area, averaging well over $2.50/ft. The least expensive one-bedroom has 630 square feet for $1770, while the most economical two-bedroom is priced at $2400 for about 1000 square feet. Of the 438 units, 115 are set aside for low-income families.





NoHo Commons fronting on Chandler Blvd.



No Ho Commons sits on a parcel on the south side of Chandler Blvd (directly south of the Metro Parking Lot). This three-story structure contains 278 lofts and one-bedroom units, along with 14 live-work units that front on Waddington Street (on the south side of the building). Unfortunately, the frontage along Chandler Blvd is not nearly as interesting, as it consists of a single non-descript entrance flanked by large openings seemingly intended to provide pedestrians with views of the interior of the street-level garage. Rental rates at the Commons are close to those at the Gallery; the standard unit is a one-bedroom with 930 square feet for $2375/month ($2.55/ft). Twenty-eight of the housing units are reserved for low-income individuals or families.




Live-works on Weddington Street


The live-work units are intended to provide interface with Weddington Street. Some of the early visioning called for Weddington Street to become “a tighter two-lane pedestrian street” that would provide “clusters of seating among the landscape, dappled shade and artistic water features.” The block would be lined with one-story lofts “like retail, gallery, and artist cafes” integrated “into the three-story artist loft residential units…overlooking the street.” It will take several years to determine how close reality will resemble this flowery description.

In the meantime, some of the live-works will be rented to professionals and writers, but many will be used only as residences. The units have 21-foot ceilings, exposed utility pipes, polished concrete floors and other typical loft-like features. Live-works are only slight more expensive than the regular lofts ($2500 for 972 sq ft and $3900 for 1500 sq ft).

The third phase of the No Ho Commons project was launched in 2006 and will put a 32,000 square foot Hows Market on the NE corner of Lankershim and Weddington. Other retail units will be situated on the important Lankershim frontage between Chandler Blvd and Weddington Street.

A large tower at the corner of Chandler Blvd and Lankershim (directly across from the Metro subway entrance) is designed to serve as a symbolic gateway to the transit village. This part of the project will add a total of 30,000 square feet of retail in addition to the market. Other tenants who have contracted for space include Wells Fargo Bank, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Cingular Cellular and Cold Stone Creamery. Chain restaurants include a California Pizza Kitchen and a Daphne’s Greek Restaurant.




Artist's rendering of Laemmie Theater Complex


The final phase of the project should be launched in the summer of 2007 and will include a seven-screen Laemmie Theater with 1100 stadium-style seats, a five-story office building with 100,000 square feet, and 150 units of additional housing. This part of the project will sit on the SE corner of Lankershim and Weddington (just south of the entrance to Hows Market). The forecasted completion date is the fall of 2009.

The artist's rendering for the intersection occupied by the market, theater and office building suggests a much more sedate setting than the rather dynamic scene displayed in earlier sketches. (Compare color rendering at top of page).

Although JH Snyder has garnered most of the publicity for its NoHo Commons, JSM Construction is responsible for nearly as many residential units. By the end of 2008, it hopes to have completed a total of 789 units in five buildings.




NO Tower at Lankershim and Chandler


JSM’s NoHo Tower at the SW corner of Lankershim and Cumpston Street was expected to be completed sometime in 2007. The 15-story Tower is reputed to be the tallest residential high-rise in the San Fernando Valley and will have 180 condominiums. This building should have 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

The NO Tower (originally called the Florentine) was constructed as an apartment complex but is intended for conversion to condominiums: 173 at market rate and seven more for low-income families or individuals. A total of 391 parking spaces are planned.



JSM’s largest contribution is a four-building complex being marketed as the No Ho Collection on McCormick Street, about three blocks from the Metro Station. Although it is much less visible and has a smaller retail component, it will contribute a total of 598 rental units and more than 16,000 square feet of retail and office space. The four buildings include:




The four buildings of the NoHo Collection on McCormick Street


(1) the Ticino, completed in 2004, with 103 residential units and 3,000 feet of ground-floor retail.
(2) the Imperia at the NE corner of McCormick and Blakeston with 103 units and 6400’ of retail space. Scheduled for completion in the spring of 2007.
(3) the Milano, directly across the street from the Imperia with frontages on McCormick, Blakeston and Magnolia Blvd. This building has 196 units and will have 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. Scheduled for completion in fall of 2007.
(4) a yet-to-be-named building just east of the Ticino that will front on McCormick Street and Vineland Avenue. It is designed to have 196 additional apartments and an undetermined amount of retail space. The JSM Buildings all have six stories and have about eight per cent of their units set aside as affordable housing.

Other complexes in the area include the Academy Village Apartments on Magnolia Boulevard (just west of the Milano) and the Otsego Garden Apartments. Academy Village has 248 units that rent for $2.15 to $2.40 per foot ($1600 for 649 square foot studio and $1995 for 925-square foot one bedroom). The Otsego Garden Apartments were completed in 2006, offering a total of 100 units, with the usual eight per cent set aside for low-income families.



Future Development. While the projects by JH Snyder and JSM Construction have made a major impact on the development of North Hollywood as a full-service TOD, the most critical pieces of the puzzle have yet to be provided. The LA Metro owns the 16.5 acres most proximate to the two transit stations (the Orange Line and the Red Line) and was in the process of soliciting development proposals in the latter half of 2006. The four parcels include the land occupied by the two stations, two bus waiting areas, Metro parking lots with nearly 1000 spaces, and the historic Lankershim Train Depot (which is to be refurbished as part of the project).




The four CRA parcels outlined in red.


The Metro has established various guidelines for the proposals, including the requirement that they “build upon NoHo’s creative arts-orientation”, and that they have “a landmark quality” that creates “a sense of place that reinforces this vision and identity.” The RFQ expressly states that residential development should be a complimentary use and not the dominant use for the site.

The development proposal must replace the existing 906 parking spaces at the principal Metro lot with at least 1500 spaces and include a plan for a future increase to 2500. Parcels fronting on Lankershim should have “a mix of high intensity office and commercial uses,” while the eastern half of the main Metro lot should be heavy to “residential and neighborhood-serving mixed uses.”

As part of the project, the developer must provide an underground connection between the Orange Line station on the east side of Lankershim and the sub-surface light rail station on the west side.

In addition to the residential and commercial construction that will take place on the 16.5 acres that are the site for the RFQ, the City has a number of plans to improve the area’s transportation corridors. The NoHoArts District Streetscape Project is designed to improve sidewalks, crosswalks and streets and to add transit shelters, benches, planters, distinctive street lights, street trees, and ground cover. The major streets targeted for these improvements are Lankershim, Chandler Blvd, and Weddington Street.

Other CRA Projects include the Chandler Bikeway that will parallel Chandler Blvd from the North Hollywood station east to Clybourn Avenue, various programs to improve existing business storefronts, a marquee grant program to upgrade and restore theatre facades, and a program to upgrade substandard housing. January 2007.
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