Third phase of N. Hollywood (L.A.) mixed-use project starts

The final phase of a $375-million real estate development near the North Hollywood end of the Red Line subway called NoHo Commons was kicked off Monday by builders and public officials.

Los Angeles developer J.H. Snyder Co. will start work shortly on NoHo Commons' third segment, which will contain an office building with shops on the ground floor, a seven-screen Laemmle Theatres complex and a 700-space parking garage.

It will also include the relocation and restoration of Phil's Diner, a 1920s-era restaurant designed to simulate a railroad car that served generations of San Fernando Valley residents from a spot on Chandler Boulevard. The diner's original sign, now missing, will be re-created.

The $79.4-million third phase of the development is located on about three acres at the intersection of Lankershim Boulevard and Weddington Street. It's a block away from the north end of the subway and the beginning of the Orange Line busway that runs to Woodland Hills.

"This project creates a crossroads for culture and commerce at the transit crossroads of this very important part of the San Fernando Valley," said Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, who represents the neighborhood.

The development is a joint project with J.H. Snyder Co. and the city's Community Redevelopment Agency to build a "transit-oriented development" near the North Hollywood station.

It is one of 28 transit-oriented developments under construction or planned at stops on Metropolitan Transportation Authority train routes, MTA spokesman Dave Sotero said. Eight others have already been completed.

Although the real estate industry has taken a beating in recent months, this project shouldn't be affected by the downturn, said Jerry Snyder, founder of J.H. Snyder Co. "It's not like I'm building a bunch of condos."

Snyder said he was close to signing a lease with a tenant for almost half the space in the 180,000-square-foot office building. He declined to identify the tenant before the agreement was final.

He said he would start construction within three months and complete the project within two years.

NoHo Commons was approved in 2001. The first phase, completed in 2006, contains 438 apartments, including units subsidized for low-income tenants.

The second phase, completed last year, contains 292 rental units and retail space, including a supermarket, bank and restaurants.


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