Friday, August 22, 2014

"Warner Center 2035" Plans Urban Center in West Valley Suburbia

The original plan for Warner Center envisioned the West Valley area as a satellite city connected to other LA urban areas by mass transit.  When the mass transit component didn't materialize in the 1960s and 1970s, those plans were scaled back and the neighborhood became an office park in the middle of the Valley's suburban sprawl.

Now after the phenomenal success of the Metro Orange line, planners are taking another look and planning a major wave of building to reinvent Warner Center.  With delineated neighborhoods planned for retail, office space, entertainment and residential development, it looks like the next 20 years will see the area finally realize its original aim of a city within the city.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Los Angeles Times

Link to article:

Excerpt: "Even supporters of Warner Center concede that it needs a distinct identity to succeed.

'The Valley can't try to be something it's not. It has to keep its own personality," said David Allison, chairman of the nonprofit Warner Center Assn. "The groundwork has been laid to create a city center; it's feasible. Now, the question is the market and if there will be demand.'

One of the forces driving development is the Orange Line, Metro's busway that runs from North Hollywood to Chatsworth, with a stop in Warner Center. The Orange Line has been a success, exceeding ridership projections and prompting talks of converting it to light rail.

Over the last several years, Warner Center has seen a boom in residential development, and more is on the way. The Warner Center 2035 plan, the city's master plan, would boost the number of residential units from about 8,500 to more than 26,000, said Tom Glick, a city planner.

'It's a suburban area that's evolving,' said Dennis DiBiase, a member of the Woodland Hills-Warner Center Neighborhood Council who has lived there for more than two decades. 'It's becoming more urbanized and more dense. This is something unique for the area.'

Among the projects planned is a $3-billion high-rise 'urban neighborhood' at the 47-acre former Rocketdyne engine manufacturing plant on Canoga Avenue, across the street from the busway.

The mixed-use project would have up to 3.95 million square feet of residential space and 1.1 million square feet of office space. Preliminary plans also call for an assisted-living facility, restaurants, a hotel and a 5-acre central park.

This spring, construction crews broke ground on a $350-million open-air mall that will occupy 30 acres between Victory Boulevard and Erwin Street. The Village at Westfield Topanga will house a Costco and an array of restaurants and outdoor courtyards.

Other plans include a 621-unit mixed-use apartment complex on the former Catalina Yachts building site on Victory Boulevard, as well as 379 apartment units on the site of the old Daily News headquarters at Oxnard Street and Canoga Avenue.

A 395-unit apartment project at De Soto Avenue and Erwin Street is expected to open this year.

The Warner Center 2035 plan is designed to unify all these projects.

It divides the area into eight districts with names such as Downtown, Uptown and Commerce, each with its own development guidelines. The plan calls for the long city blocks to be broken up with new pedestrian pathways, new streets and more crosswalks. Developers will pay fees to fund many of the changes.

In some ways, it's a return to Warner's Center original vision."

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