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One of Woodland Hill’s Ventura Boulevard shopping centers is getting a facelift and a new set of tenants under new ownership by a New York-based developer.
Some demolition work has begun at the Woodland Hills Village Plaza Shopping Center, which will be rebranded as the Valley Country Market by Atlas Capital Group, which focuses on restoring and updating older buildings, such as the 30-acres Beaux Arts style buildings in downtown Los Angeles known as Row DTLA.
The developer has now turned its attention to one of the more affluent markets in the San Fernando Valley to refresh a shopping center that formerly housed the now closed Cables Restaurant.
Atlas has a slightly trendier market in mind, and many of the long-time tenants have left, including Cables, the diner that anchored the center for about 40 years. Also gone are a karate studio and a Thai restaurant. The dozen or so remaining businesses include a juice bar, a Jenny Craig office, a pilates studio and a Subway sandwich shop.
Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year or early 2018, and work is underway to lease out the more than 30 emptied-out retail spaces.
Marc Riches, Atlas’s leasing director for the Southern California area, says they are going for an open-air dining experience with the food tenants, and a “very cool, eclectic vibe” for the overall center.
A part of the plaza has been demolished to make room for “larger patio areas for new restaurants, and … a coffee shop or an ice cream shop, or something like that,” he said.
Riches said the center, built in the 1970s, “could have operated for decades, and … kind of kept trucking and doing what it was doing,” but his group wanted to make it into more of a retail destination.
The center is being designed as a place where diners and shoppers can spend a whole day, he said, adding that Atlas hopes to add tenants that are “more niche” and less “corporate America.”
“We are looking to have folks come in potentially, who have never done brick-and-mortar before … people who have one store in Miami or New York, or even in France …. and they just really love the L.A. market and don’t know exactly know how to get in,” he said.
Noel Hyun, a land use attorney representing Atlas, noted the tough retail industry and explained that they are hoping to respond to widespread shifts in how people shop.
The question has become, “do (shoppers) go into a real store or go online?” she said, and one of the ways that is being addressed is by making the center more pleasant and a place that people would want to spend time in.
“We thought this is a great retail center, it’s a place for community gathering and there’s a real opportunity to bring it into the 21st century,” she said.