The Los Angeles City Planning Commission just voted overwhelmingly to approve NOHO West, a critical redevelopment project that will revitalize Laurel Plaza and make this East San Fernando Valley commercial corridor thrive once again. This is a huge step forward for what I believe will be the cornerstone of a bright commercial future in the area. Securing a worthy redevelopment project here and in Valley Plaza has been my top economic development priority since I took office in January 2010. With NOHO West, we can all look forward to 24+ acres of top-notch, brand new retail, entertainment, office and housing options for Valley residents.
Back in the 1960s and 70s, Laurel Plaza was a source of economic activity, jobs, entertainment and community services. It was a primary symbol of the Valley's postwar building boom. Facing a decline since the 80s, the site has been underutilized and neglected, attracting blight and not much else to the corridor.
After the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, Los Angeles adopted the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Earthquake Disaster Assistance Plan for the Laurel Canyon commercial corridor. Despite the creation of the CRA and several development proposals, the area failed to redevelop for more than two decades. Now, the only retail building still at Laurel Plaza, Macy's, is set to close next week, which will leave this lot almost entirely vacant.
Building with the Neighborhood in Mind
|Councilmember Krekorian speaking to the City Planning Commission in support of the NOHO West project. | Photo: CD2|
Since NOHO West was first proposed, my office has engaged with residents and expressed their questions and concerns to the developer. While most residents welcome this project, my job is to make sure the developer puts the neighborhood's quality of life and safety first. This is why I demanded that the original proposal be adjusted to better suit the needs of the neighborhood and preserve its charming character.
Ultimately, my office secured many important project improvements that will benefit the community, including lowering the amount of housing by 100 units; increasing the amount of open space and green space on the project, in addition to the courtyards and plazas already included in the original proposal; adding nearly 30,000 square feet of additional commercial space to the project; lowering the overall height of the project; adding landscaping and maintaining the medians surrounding the property, including those on Erwin Street, Radford Avenue, Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Oxnard Street; improving building design elements to break up the massing of the buildings; and ensuring that 75 percent of the 1,200 construction jobs for the commercial center are quality union jobs.
My office was only able to secure these improvements because we worked hand in hand with the community to win them. Our partnership with the Mid-Town North Hollywood Neighborhood Council, Laurel Hall School, the Laurel Grove Neighborhood Association and others in the surrounding community were critical to making this excellent project even better.
NOHO West is an opportunity for the Valley to realize the commercial potential that still exists on this site by bringing shopping and entertainment options back to Laurel Plaza. But my support for this improved project does not mean I am letting the developer off the hook. I fully expect the developer to continue to work closely with community groups to address any outstanding issues that remain and to continue this dialogue through the construction phase.
Read my letter to the Planning Commission about NOHO West here: bit.ly/2crQ3KU.
See NOHO West renderings and get more info at nohowest.com. NOHO West will come before the City Council's Planning and Land Use Committee and then the full City Council soon.