STUDIO CITY : Compromise Allows Tenants in Mini-Mall

After months of negotiations, city officials unveiled a compromise Friday allowing the key tenants of a Studio City mini-mall to begin moving in before the developer had begun street improvements to accommodate increased traffic at Ventura and Laurel Canyon boulevards.

The developer and members of a local residents association, who had long been at odds over the project, expressed satisfaction with the deal.

“We really wanted to guarantee that the work is going to get done, and our confidence level is high based on the agreement the city has made,” said Tony Lucente, president of the Studio City Residents Assn.

Residents picketed the mall this spring after the Good Guys electronics store was allowed to open before the developer had installed additional turn lanes on northbound Laurel Canyon Boulevard and made other traffic improvements. Friday’s agreement ended a city-imposed moratorium on occupancy permits until the improvements had begun.


A mall spokesman also praised the deal. “Nobody should feel bad about this. Nobody is a loser,” said Ira Handelman, spokesman for developer Ira Smedra.

“We put down cash--and that’s the best guarantee in the world.”

In exchange for the developer adding $75,000 to a $375,000 fund to guarantee the street improvements, temporary occupancy permits were approved Thursday for The Daily Grill and Super Crown Books, which along with the already open electronics store are the mall’s key tenants.

Construction is expected to begin early next month, with several more retail shops and restaurants opening as construction progresses. Work is expected to be completed this fall.


A planning deputy for Los Angeles City Councilman Joel Wachs, who helped put the compromise together, said he is confident the work will get done.

“The contract is signed. We’ve got cash in the bank. The improvements will be done,” said Tom Henry. “Finally.”