Traveling Among the Stars
A transit-oriented development brings new life to North Hollywood.
Transit-oriented developments are complex, multifaceted
projects that involve many stakeholders ranging from investors to community
groups to local and state governments. Like a Hollywood
movie producer, a commercial real estate developer must be able to manage many
different interests, groups, functions, and logistics to bring a star product
In Los Angeles’ North Hollywood
community, J.H. Snyder Co. successfully has created NoHo Commons, a $200
million TOD project that integrates a public transportation hub with a dynamic
mix of housing and retail.
The TOD concept offers the benefits of reduced traffic
congestion, decreased environmental pollution, higher and more stable property
values, and a generally higher quality of life. “We developed NoHo Commons as a
model for a successful TOD,” says Jerome Snyder, the company’s senior partner.
“We sought to combine pedestrian-friendly design, live-work spaces, and
carefully selected retail to create a vibrant, coming-and-going, 24-hours-a-day
synergy that is true to North Hollywood’s
unique urban identity.”
completion in spring 2006, NoHo Commons will include 438 apartment units, 278
residential loft units, 20,000 square feet of live-work space, and 60,000 sf of
Eighty percent of NoHo Commons’ retail portion already is leased.
Anchor tenant HOWS Market has taken 32,000 sf and is scheduled to open in 2006
along with Wells Fargo Bank and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf among other tenants.
“These and other carefully selected tenants support
our vision of the urban village feel of this development, blended with
transportation access and a variety of housing types,” says Clifford Goldstein,
J.H. Snyder’s senior partner.
Site & Neighborhood
An ambitious example of a mixed-use development on an
urban-infill site, NoHo Commons is located at the site of a Los Angeles Metro
Rail Red Line station, which anchors its commercial core. The North Hollywood neighborhood, currently emerging from a state of neglect, has regained vitality
as an eclectic arts, dining, and retail district with more than 30 theaters.
Prior to the development vacant land, warehouses, and abandoned residential
structures occupied the site.
Commons is expected to appeal to many local residents who work in the area’s entertainment
industry and related fields. The project and its Metro station are within easy
walking distance of the Academy of Television Arts, close to Universal Studios,
and near Burbank, where Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros., NBC, and ABC’s West
Coast operations are headquartered.
of nearby transportation options is expanding with the opening of a new Metro
Orange Line transit station adjacent to NoHo Commons. The new bus line covers
14 miles between North Hollywood and Woodland Hills, site of Warner Center, a
major San Fernando Valley business and retail development.
Line transit station further adds to the neighborhood ambience, with its
terrazzo paving, colorful porcelain steel art panels, sculpted seating, and
artist-influenced landscaping. The NoHo Commons project is a unique example in
this area of urban excitement and entertainment-industry glamour,” Goldstein
rendering: J.H. Snyder Co.
A significant TOD challenge is handling the complexity of
such an integrated project. Real estate professionals must bring experience,
skills, and a network of contacts on board to help see the project through. For
example, from the outset the commercial real estate professionals involved in
NoHo Commons formed a collaborative team that included the developer, Los Angeles’
Community Redevelopment Agency, the Los
Angeles Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, the San Fernando Valley
Jobs Coalition, and the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. The
collaborators crafted a community benefits program to ensure that low-income
individuals and local businesses in the San Fernando Valley community will
benefit from NoHo Commons’ development through job training programs and
contributions toward a community clinic and day-care center.
for public/private projects is inherently complicated, requiring alignment of
the public policy interests of multiple government agencies with the unique
investment characteristics of the capital markets and the interests of the
developer. J.H. Snyder developed NoHo Commons in cooperation with the Community
Redevelopment Agency as well as various private and public sources, including
$14 million from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.