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Laurel Plaza Macy's Department Store Closes To Make Way For Enormous NoHo West Project

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You know the building. Standing all alone in an ocean of asphalt, the hulking Macy's store pictured above is the last remaining vestige of the old Laurel Plaza mall, most of which was razed after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. In order to make way for the incoming (and truly enormous) NoHo West project, the Macy's on Laurel Canyon Boulevard has officially closed down, according to the Daily News .

First opened in in 1955, Laurel Plaza was the epitome of San Fernando Valley living. Aside from the typical stores and shops, Laurel Plaza was also home to one of the Valley's most loved skating rinks, which closed eventually closed in 1995 . While a few stores reopened following the Northridge earthquake, damage to the mall was too extensive for it to ever resume its former status. The lone department store, at the time a Robinson's May franchise, remained. Macy's took over the store in 2006, and operated it for the last decade of its existence.

Late in 2015, the Hollywood based development company Charles Group International purchased the land for $200 million. Shortly thereafter, the company released a slew of snazzy renderings that booster their proposed "NoHo West" development. For now, NoHo West is grinding its way through the city planning process.

If built, NoHo West would add a whopping 642 units of housing, 256,000 square feet of office and retail space and 316,000 square feet of commercial space to the tired (and freeway adjacent) corner of North Hollywood. NoHo West will also add a much needed supermarket, a gym and a movie theatre, according to Urbanize.LA . The project is not without controversy, and (understandably) has neighbors worried about the potential traffic impact generated by such a large mixed-use edifice.

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In August, architects of the project released the above video. Speaking personally, as someone who has lived in the immediate vicinity of the proposed project for the greater part of the past two decades, it's strange to imagine the Macy's (and its parking lot) transformed into the Americana-like shopping complex portrayed in the architectural renderings. Where I know it as a dead space where teenagers try to do donuts in their cars, the environment portrayed by the renderings is vibrant in a way that only commercial development in the early 21st century can be. Really, I can't wait for another Chipotle and L.A. Fitness! Don't forget the City Target.

Anyway, everything changes. And the 642 units of housing included with NoHo West go that much farther to alleviating L.A.'s dreadful housing crisis . At the same time, we could probably do without the gargantuan eight-story parking structure that's also supposed to be built along the edge of the 170 freeway—a piece of backwards-thinking infrastructure that will most likely be rendered obsolete by autonomous vehicles set to arrive sometime in the 2030s . Everything changes.

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