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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Housing Looms Large in Revised Promenade Plan

By MICHAEL AUSHENKER Staff Reporter In a joint statement with City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield announced Feb. 21 that an amended version of its Promenade 2035 project has been submitted to the city of Los Angeles for review. The revision amounts to a voluntary inclusion of affordable housing units, a reduction in the size of a proposed entertainment and sports center and a redefinition of the parking layout. Promenade 2035, a $1.5 billion overhaul of an existing Westfield property in Woodland Hills, envisions a 34-acre mixed-use center with public plazas and walkable streets along with new housing, entertainment venues, hotels, restaurants and street level retail. The updated proposal includes a commitment to a total of 15 percent of the initial residential units for affordable, stakeholder and workforce housing. The developer is calling it “a voluntary action and the first of its kind in the downtown district of the Warner Center.” The plan sees 15 percent of the project’s initial residential units, located in the project’s northwest and northeast quadrants, devoted to affordable, workforce and stakeholder housing. This will be divided into 5 percent for very low-income households; 5 percent for a voluntary workforce housing program, targeting rents affordable to workers such as teachers and firefighters; and 5 percent for a voluntary local stakeholder incentive program for local workers. The percentages apply to all of the 1,000-plus units in the development’s initial phases. The plan also accommodates a 30 percent reduction from the original 15,000 seat stadium going up near the northeast corner of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Oxnard Street, suggesting either a 10,000-seat enclosed arena or a 7,500-seat open-air design, which will target such activities as minor league baseball and soccer games. Parking for the venue has also been reconfigured to meet code requirements and it will include a reduction in off-site parking in favor of a smaller design and parking synergy with Westfield’s adjacent retail properties, the Village and Topanga. According to Westfield, the stadium modifications will also ensure a more sustainable development and further the company’s goal to reduce its carbon footprint globally. According to the announcement, Westfield, Blumenfield and related neighborhood stakeholders have been actively working together to address community concerns about the project, which have largely revolved around congestion, parking and noise issues. The project furthers Blumenfield’s long-running drive for inclusive housing formats within the Warner Center 2035 Specific Plan’s creation of a downtown district in Woodland Hills. “I have worked closely with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield to ensure that this project, with its vast opportunity, adds critical low income and workforce housing, good-paying jobs as well as numerous community benefits,” Blumenfield said in a statement. “With this revised plan, we are taking a great step forward. People who work in Warner Center should be able to afford to live there and this is a step in the right direction.” Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Executive Vice President of Development Larry Green added: “Having spent many months meeting with residents and listening to their concerns, we are pleased to submit revised plans which reflect community input on this vision for the Promenade property, while keeping within the goals of the Warner Center 2035 Specific Plan.” The revised project next goes to City of Los Angeles Planning Commission for review in March.

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