L.A. signs off on $1-billion ‘mini-city’ in the west San Fernando Valley
The Los Angeles City Council cleared the way Wednesday for a sprawling development planned for the west San Fernando Valley, signing off on a new sports arena, two hotels, a 28-story office tower and more than 1,400 new apartments.
On a 14-0 vote, the council approved Promenade 2035, which is expected to cost more than $1 billion, replacing a closed shopping mall in Warner Center with a new “downtown district” featuring a supermarket, public plazas, high-density housing and a 10,000-seat entertainment and sports venue.
Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who represents the area, said the project’s combination of restaurants, stores, homes and workspaces makes it “the future of green planning.”
Promenade 2035 will offer a “mini-city ... within this larger city,” he said, “where you can get your culture and entertainment and jobs and work — all in a smaller area for less of a carbon footprint.”
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, the project’s developer, agreed to set aside 5% of the project’s housing units for very low-income families, serving households that earn less than 50% of the area median income, which is currently $77,300 per year. Another 5% would be allocated for “workforce” housing, targeting households that earn 120% to 150% of area median income, a Blumenfield aide said.
As the COVID-19 pandemic explodes, Latino neighborhoods in the San Fernando Valley bear the brunt of sickness, fear and despair.
The developer is hoping to begin construction within two years, with the work carried out in phases.
The Woodland Hills Homeowners Assn. initially challenged the project but later dropped its opposition. That left businessman Jeff Bornstein, who contends the planning department’s evaluation of the project failed to comply with state environmental law, as the remaining opponent.
Jamie Hall, Bornstein’s attorney, said planning department officials allowed the developer to make “major modifications” to the proposal, changing the number and location of the buildings without allowing the public to properly weigh in. He also said officials did not notify him of Wednesday’s council meeting until late Tuesday afternoon, when he received an email from the city clerk.
“We intend on objecting to their failure to provide the notice required by law and will be seeking a remedy from the courts,” Hall said.
Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn., offered much more favorable reviews of Wednesday’s decision, saying the project would keep Valley residents from having to drive downtown or to the Westside for entertainment.
Luis Porres, business agent for the Plumbers and Fitters Union Local 761, said Promenade 2035 will offer hope to workers during difficult times, ultimately creating more than 19,000 jobs.
“We need this project,” he said. “And we need to send a message to our other longtime businesses in the city to invest and start planning for our recovery.”
Times staff writer Roger Vincent contributed to this report.
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