NoHo West, a new and redeveloped project breaking ground this week, is the hope for a North Hollywood neighborhood that could use some TLC.
On Thursday, developers, politicians, architects and commercial real estate brokers gathered at the site of the former Macy’s store in the once-busy Laurel Plaza Mall at the southeast corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Erwin Street.
San Diego developer Merlone Geier Partners and L.A. investor Goldstein Planting Investments Cos. announced the ground-breaking of NoHo West, a project on about 25 acres with elements of the live/work/play concept that has become the latest focus of other proposed developments.
The partners submitted plans for NoHo West in the spring of 2015, after Macy’s Inc. of Cincinnati sold them the property for $50 million in January of 2014, according to data provider CoStar Group Inc. Macy’s closed the store in October after operating there for 60 years. The city approved the project’s environmental impact report in December along with other approvals and denied an appeal from a local neighborhood association on the height for the residential buildings.
Merlone Geier said the project was designed to complement the fabric of the surrounding neighborhood.
The site at 6180 Laurel Canyon Blvd. will span 570,000 square feet and include retail, dining, entertainment, office and residential. There will be a tree-lined main street with shops, cafes and restaurants connecting public plazas and green gathering spaces. The developers plan 50 to 60 retail, restaurant and entertainment tenants including a grocery store, fitness center and movie theater as the retail anchors.
The 250,000 square feet of office space will consist of the former Macy’s store converted into 200,000 square feet of offices with a center atrium, windows and high ceilings, and a 50,000-square-foot new office building.
Patrick Church and Josh Wrobel with Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. will handle office leasing at the project. Brian Niehaus, managing director of JLL, said he plans to focus on enticing employers to NoHo West from West Los Angeles.
“Tech, media and content creation companies – anything that has to do with eyeballs on the screen,” Niehaus said.
With content producers taking lots of space in the West Side, Niehaus said there should be plenty of those and similar companies looking for more space to lease.
Dennis Borowsky, vice president for Merlone Geier, will handle leasing for the center’s 300,000-square-feet of retail space. Negotiations are in the early stages, he said.
Construction loans typically require some degree of pre-leasing of tenants, but that isn’t an issue yet, Borowsky said, because the project is self-funded at this point.
The developers are looking for a balanced mix of national, regional and independent retailers and restaurants, he added, and a mix of quick-serve and sit-down restaurants. Retail and office space will be built first, Borowsky said.
Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian spoke at the event, and called the project “the beginning of the renaissance of East San Fernando Valley.”
“Others remember when these malls (Laurel Plaza and nearby Valley Plaza) were the economic centers of the region,” he said, before hard times hit both. “These were at times the most influential malls in the U.S.”
The complex will also include 642 apartments, the last phase of the project to be built. NoHo West is expected to be completed in summer or fall 2019.