Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lankershim Becoming Grand Boulevard of Revitalized Valley

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Los Angeles Times

Link to article:
Lankershim Boulevard Rides to Prominence in the Valley

A decade ago, Lankershim was an unlikely candidate to become a Broadway of the Valley, cutting diagonally across a vibrant city and attracting nightlife and culture to its orbit. Now the phenomenal success of the Metro Red and Orange Lines  has made North Hollywood into the Valley's bright, shiny "capital city" and Lankershim into its new grand boulevard.

Excerpt: "In the 1990s, the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, or CRA, began investing heavily in North Hollywood, financing real-estate development and subsidizing renovations by a number of theater companies along Lankershim.

With the 2000 extension of the Red Line into the Valley, with stops at Universal City and in North Hollywood, those investments began to pay off. A CRA-aided project called the NoHo Commons, begun in 2003, brought new shops and apartments within a few feet of the Red Line.

In 2005, the opening of the Orange Line rapid-bus route, running east-west across the Valley from Warner Center to the corner of Chandler and Lankershim, provided another boost. It carved out a 14-mile-long dedicated right of way, part of which once moved Southern Pacific trains and Red Car electric trolleys, for extra-long Metro Liner buses.

Extended over the summer north to Chatsworth, the Orange Line now carries 30,000 passengers on an average weekday, significantly outpacing early projections. Much cheaper to build than rail, the rapid-bus route is the clearest success story in the great Metro expansion of the last two decades.

Today the sidewalks in front of the new Laemmle movie house just south of the Orange Line-Red Line junction are often crowded. In the evenings so is the Federal Bar in a restored brick building across the boulevard. Actors mumbling their lines hurry to auditions as groups of martial-arts students spill out of karate and tae kwon do studios.

'We've seen this little stretch of Lankershim really blossom,' said Bill Brochtrup, co-artistic director of the Antaeus theater company, which moved into a 49-seat space in North Hollywood in 2007. 'It's becoming a walking destination and a pedestrian zone. Five years ago I didn't see that as much. It was a little dicey.'

Now that the Red Line runs until 2 a.m. on weekends and the Orange Line even later, Brochtrup added, theater and improv companies and comedy clubs can try out later curtain times. 'Like Melrose, downtown, these other hipper neighborhoods, we can do these late-night events.'

'I almost can't believe I'm saying that about Lankershim,' he said. 'But we're proud Valleyites now.'

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