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Reopened Westlake Mall Gives Kids a Free Ride

July 25, 1993|JAKE DOHERTY

After he endured a 14-month roller-coaster ride to rebuild the Westlake Mall, owner Lotfi Mehdian decided to give his shoppers' children a free ride on the new carnival attractions he installed in the rebuilt swap meet.

The free rides, which are expected to cost 25 cents eventually, are part of Mehdian's plan to attract customers to the swap meet at 710 S. Alvarado St., which burned down during last year's riots.

Tenants and shoppers say the new swap meet is better than before, thanks to Mehdian's $1.5-million investment that included a skylight and better security.

Councilman Mike Hernandez praised Mehdian for his "strong will to stay in business" in the face of government red tape. Hernandez called operations such as the Westlake Mall "incubators" for individuals looking to break into the city's economy.

Mehdian said that some vendors sell about $300 in merchandise each day. Most of the mall's approximately 35 vendors were tenants in the old building, he said.

"Business was very good before the riots," said vendor Simon Khodadadi. "Now that people know we're open again, they'll be back."

But Khodadadi said he would also like to see more police outside the swap meet to stop drug dealing.

The Westlake Mall is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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