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Valley Focus

Sherman Oaks : Bloomingdale's Deal Praised by Activists

November 21, 1995|KAY HWANGBO

Community leaders in Sherman Oaks say they welcome the news that Bloomingdale's has signed a deal to come into Sherman Oaks Fashion Square mall.

The deal is contingent upon the city approving the mall's plans, which shopping center officials filed last Wednesday. Sherman Oaks Fashion Square, located on Riverside Drive between Hazeltine and Woodman avenues, wants to expand the 190,000-square-foot Broadway store site--which Bloomingdale's would occupy--by 40,000 square feet.

Local activists said that the arrival of the upscale department store is a sign that Sherman Oaks, which was hard hit by the Northridge earthquake, is on its way back.

"I think it's very positive news for Sherman Oaks," said Jeff Brain, chairman of the Ventura Boulevard Specific Plan Review Board. "It shows they have confidence in our community."

Barry Wegman, president of the Greater Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce, said, "Everything that I've heard about it is just fabulous."

Even Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn.--which recently took a position opposing changes at Sherman Oaks' other mall, the Galleria--looked with favor upon the news.

"My wife's excited, the community's excited," he said, adding jokingly, "it will be an expensive decision for me personally."

Close and Brain cautioned, however, that they have concerns about the proposal's effects on parking and traffic circulation around the mall. Close said he has set up a committee to work with the mall in hopes of getting it to fulfill promises that Close said it made a year ago to install additional traffic lights, add parking and refurbish the mall facade along Riverside Drive.

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