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VALLEY FOCUS | North Hollywood

Quake Repair Plan OKd to Aid Businesses

April 23, 1998|SYLVIA L. OLIANDE

The City Council has given property owners along Laurel Canyon Boulevard permission to rebuild and expand their businesses under a program originally established to help with earthquake recovery.

The council on Wednesday unanimously approved an amendment to the Laurel Canyon Earthquake Recovery Program to open up the rules of participation to include new and large-scale projects.

The program was established at the end of 1994 to help fix Northridge earthquake-caused problems along Laurel Canyon Boulevard between Oxnard and Archwood streets, said Tom Henry, a planning deputy for Councilman Joel Wachs.

The area includes the Valley Plaza and Laurel Plaza shopping centers, two of the oldest outdoor malls in the Valley.

The Community Redevelopment Agency, which manages the program, asked that the council consider the modification after the agency determined that more than earthquake construction would be needed to revitalize the area.

But owners contemplating construction and improvement projects were ineligible for the program under the old rules.

Henry said that many of the businesses in the shopping centers, which have been around since the 1950s, are doing well financially, but that others have suffered greatly.

Chuck LeRoy, a property manager with Anchor Management, said the council action was good news for many of the business owners he represents at Valley Plaza.

He said that before the earthquake, the center had an average vacancy rate of about 10%. In the years since, that rate has risen to 20% or 25%, and some owners are getting desperate, he added.

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