A planned expansion of the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center--involving the moving of an 8,000-square-foot building from Burbank to Pacoima--will take place early next year, a center official said this week.
"I'm really happy . . . because I can actually see the work progressing," said Michael Motoyasu, the center's second vice president and project chairman. "There's nothing like seeing everything come together."
According to Motoyasu, the structure will be cut into four pieces and moved in mid-January or early February. Site preparation has begun at the center, located at 12953 Branford St.
The project cleared its most important hurdle in October, when it received a permit from the city of Los Angeles to add the building, which will bring the center's total space to 20,000 square feet.
Nearby residents voiced no objections to the proposed expansion during a hearing on the project, according to Associate Zoning Administrator Horace E. Tramel Jr.
Tramel granted the permit under the condition that the moving company, Master House Movers of Encino, post a bond as a guarantee that it will complete the move.
The center has received a bank loan to finance the $300,000 project and has applied for a building permit. As part of its agreement with the Lockheed Corp., which owns the Burbank building, the center will pay all moving and reconstruction costs.
Center officials said they are getting a bargain, Motoyasu said, estimating that it would have cost as much as $550,000 to build a new structure.
Lockheed, which has moved many of its operations out of its longtime Burbank plant, had planned to demolish the 7,700-square-foot employee cafeteria. The community center will use the facility for additional dining, meeting and multipurpose space.
The center was established in 1951 and is open to anyone who is interested in its programs or Japanese culture. Programs include a Japanese school, martial arts studio, youth basketball and senior citizen programs.