Imagine Sherman Oaks? I Live There.

So I stumbled upon a site called Imagine Sherman Oaks while honing the OtF Facebook page (an ad, no doubt geo-targeted through the scarily effective Facebook Ads platform). Recalling a mention of this project in the LAist a couple months back, I opted to take a closer look at this project that (literally) hits close to home.

Apparently, THIS “mixed use” complex is supposed to be a carbon copy of existing locations in Valencia, San Bernardino, Corona and Burbank and recreated exactly in Sherman Oaks.






All feelings about the name Il Villagio Toscano aside (cue laughs of paradoxically spurious romance),  the website itself is the brainchild of successful business douches M David Paul & Associates, perhaps most successful for their modern/sleek/cookie-cutter/cliche/trying-to-please-all-but-really-pleasing-none aspirations in Burbank. The site caught the eye of offthefreeway because, well, it’s literally right off the freeway – at the 101 and Sepulveda, just south of Burbank, north of Ventura, adjacent to the 405 and cornering a nice little street called Camarillo.

Right now, this sign occupies the territory, which was last utilized as a (robust and friendly) Christmas Tree lot no more than a few weeks back:

To give you a broader view, here is a reverse-commute photo of your typical Sherman Oaks morning, courtesy of Google Maps (thanks for watching over us, guys!).

Anyway, the folks at M David etc are very shrewd, and as a salesperson myself I commend the performance of Sr. Development Manager Paul Krueger, the man projecting the firm’s vision through this 76-times viewed YouTube video:

The utilization of terms like “core business repertoire,” “urban renewal setting,” “quality, highest & best use project to the forefront” and the megaimportant “mixed use” are very urbane and show Mr. Kreuger’s intelligence, savvy and robust knowledge of euphemism. The sleek hairstyle and crisp, pinstriped shirt indicate a perceived professional success, as well as a reliance on a BMW or Range Rover. Either way, Mr. Kreuger’s tone leaves one thing clear: this is about “economics” and “profit.

Noted opponents, including wordpress blog StopIlVillagioToscano make the arguments that traffic will increase, that the project is “unsound” and that there are already too many abandoned businesses/vacant apartments in the surrounding areas. They’re right about those things, but. . .right now the property is a vacant lot.

I repeat: A VACANT LOT. Here’s a straight-on photo of the property:






Now in the opinion of OtF, does Sherman Oaks need this mixed use facility, a high-density monstrosity in the middle of a suburban commuter center, and against all logic directly adjacent to an existing all-use facility known as the Sherman Oaks Galleria?

Probably not. But what Sherman Oaks also doesn’t need is a vacant lot –  a very large, very vacant property – in the most-trafficked thoroughfare in the region, and the gateway “over the hill.” Thus, the approach of Krueger, M David & Co., to mockingly suggest a Go-Kart/Family Fun Center or a park is rather genius, especially knowing that Sherman Oaks Magic Castle is one block north. . .the fact is, something needs to be there and this will provide business, revenue and jobs; all of which I’m assuming would be a welcome aspect to any community in 2011.

And take it from somebody that commutes 26.2 miles each day from Sherman Oaks to El Segundo: one more project, one more roadblock, one more detour isn’t going to greatly affect the commute – you can either deal with it or you can’t, and if a project promises community reinvestment, than OtF is on board.

Note:Curbed Los Angeles does a great job digesting the actual specs of the project, which may or may not end up like most of the Galleria itself – high interest, high turnover and with the exception of a few business, low profit.


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