After nearly five years, both sides of a $150-million proposal to demolish, then renovate and expand an aging North Hollywood mall finally got their say Tuesday before city officials, who decided they needed more time and facts before reaching a decision.
The plan includes converting the existing 26-year-old, one-level mall into a three-level, 1 million-square-foot shopping mall with three new department stores, 5,400 parking spaces and a 10-story office tower.
The developer, Forest City Development, has agreed to relocate the nearby Laurel Hall School to make room for the mall. In exchange, an $8-million school will be built across the street next to Emmanuel Lutheran Church, which owns the school.
“This will provide 2,400 jobs,” said James Mahfet, who represented the Universal City/North Hollywood Chambers of Commerce. “We do need these jobs.”
Mahfet said the project will revitalize the economy of the North Hollywood area and help its residents.
About a dozen proponents and opponents of the Laurel Plaza mall spoke at the hearing, which was conducted jointly by city zoning and planning officials.
But Minette Harris, who lives near the mall, cited past problems with construction noise and overflow parking near the mall.
These problems would only increase, she said, with a new, larger facility.
Robert Carcia, president of the community group Slow The Overdevelopment Process, or STOP, said that his group supports a new mall, but not the one proposed.
“It’s a bad plan, guys,” he said.