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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | Canoga Park

Council Panel OKs Studios' Quake Loan

January 06, 1998|SYLVIA L. OLIANDE

A City Council panel approved a loan of as much as $695,000 for Ray-Art Studios, a movie production facility, for making earthquake repairs that may lead to a major expansion of the facility.

The Community and Economic Development Committee, which approved the loan at a meeting Monday, sent it to the full council for final approval.

Roger Howard, an attorney for the owners, Papazian-Hirsch Studios, said the company hopes to begin seismic retrofitting of the facility, built on the site of an old cosmetics factory, by early February. The studios continue to operate despite the quake damage.

Soon after the earthquake repairs are completed, Howard said, the studio plans to add four new sound stages to accommodate an upsurge in television and film production.

"We're very excited about this project," Howard told the committee.

"There is a huge lack of production space in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles."

Redken Laboratories, the previous owner of the 12-acre site, had applied for a city loan under the Revolving Loan/Financial Restructuring Assistance Program but sold the property to the current owners before it was approved.

City officials said the loan is extended to businesses or properties affected by the earthquake but that were rejected for a Small Business Administration loan.

The loan request, to be paid using federal funds, was recommended for approval by the Valley Economic Development Center, an agency that reviews loan applications for the city.

Center officials said its criteria have relaxed in the last couple of years to include businesses that plan to repair buildings and replace businesses that were lost after the earthquake.

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