Silent and dark and swathed in graffiti since the Northridge earthquake, the Ventura Boulevard Sav-On Drugs store is inching toward a reopening, according to owners of the building.
The owners have been negotiating a new, more expensive lease with the Anaheim-based drugstore chain, which leases the site, according to co-owner Frank Ponder.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday September 1, 1994 Valley Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Column 5 No Desk 1 inches; 28 words Type of Material: Correction
No graffiti--A story in the Aug. 24 edition of The Times incorrectly stated that the Sav-on Drugs store on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks had been marred by graffiti. There is no graffiti on the store.
"We're very close," he said.
While the talks have been under way, the store has remained closed, causing residents to wonder when, if ever, it would reopen.
"Sav-On's is a big factor in our community," said community leader Jeff Brain. "When you drive down Ventura Boulevard and you see Sav-On boarded up like that, it's not good."
While lease negotiations may be wrapped up by early September, Ponder said, repairs will not begin immediately, because owners must first seek building permits from the city.
At issue in the negotiations is the rent that Sav-On will pay.
Prior to the earthquake, thanks to a lease agreement signed in the 1970s, the drugstore was paying only about 20 cents per square foot for the 37,000-square-foot store, or about $7,400 a month.
Actual market value for the property is approximately $1 per square foot, which would mean a monthly rent of $37,000.
Although Ponder would not disclose the new rent, he said that it would be higher than before, but still be below-market rates.
"We've had a long-term relationship with Sav-On and we want to have that continue," he said.
Another issue in the talks is how much Sav-On will contribute to the cost of repairing the building, Ponder said.
Sav-On could not be reached for comment.
The earthquake caused major structural damage to the drugstore, including a partial roof cave-in. Ponder said he is not sure of the dollar amount of the damage.
While numerous Valley Sav-On stores suffered damage in the temblor, Woodland Hills is the only other store that remains closed.