A press release about the development of the Granada Village Shopping Center says, “One of the unique elements will be the creation of an outdoor dining district at the front of the center with connected patios and trellised seating areas to create energy and to increase pedestrian activity.”
If I were to speculate, this will probably means the addition of a new corporate chain restaurant or two in the center (Applebee's, anyone?). But what exactly does "Dining District" mean?
Maria Fisk of the Old Granada Hills Resident's Group Zoning and Density Committee explained:
"Nadal Construction reviewed plans for a 'dining district' and there are several options for the south end of the shopping center (near former Du-par’s):
- One driveway will be closed
-3-4 restaurants are planned (converted Blockbuster, Winchell’s, Du-par’s and possibly a new 4th building N of Du-par’s)
-They would not comment on restaurants whatsoever “don’t want to start rumors”
-Area to include pavers, outdoor dining, trellises. Really looks great!
-At this time, there were no plans for the other scattered eateries to move to this new district
Again- these are only proposals and subject to change."
Will the addition of more restaurants near the corner of Chatsworth and Zelzah spell more pressure on food trucks to skedaddle? Pressure backed by all of the weight and firepower of corporate lobbyists? It's an interesting question to which I have no answer. The only thing we know for sure is that this revamp will go a long way towards "modernizing" Granada Hills — a word that sounds ominous to some but good to others. But most agree that something — anything — will be far better than the whole lotta nuttin' that's been filling up that space over the last few years.
Neighborhood Council member Brad Smith recently said of the center, "It might be worth pointing out that Jim Summers and the rest of the supposed Granada Hills' 'NIMBYs' deserve some credit, because if they had not fought the Kohl's in 2007-2008, the addition of the Sprouts, etc., quite possibly never would have happened."
Smith speculates that "Odds are, given the collapse in the commercial real estate market in the last 24 months, the property owner would have demolished the north end of the old center, but that's quite possibly as far as it would have gone. Once Mervyns' finally went under in 2008, Kohl's would have presumably opened their store in Northridge anyway, rather than waiting for — and paying for — a brand new structure."
The only thing Regency Centers' illustration above makes certain is that patrons of the new shopping center will overwhelmingly favor gray or beige AMC Gremlins as their vehicle of choice. The rest remains to be seen.