Sirinya Tritipeskul's Commentary

Posted September 12, 2010 (user submitted)

I'd like to submit a link to a "dedication" website I created for an almost dead mall in North Hollywood, CA, just north of Los Angeles. It was created as part of a final project for a course I took called "Sprawl!" at UCLA in the Department of Urban Planning.

At the time I developed the website, over 50% of the storefronts at Valley Plaza were empty. JH Snyder, a developer, had nearly completed all of its land assembly to proceed with the redevelopment of the site in conjunction with the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Center. You might have seen parts of Valley Plaza in multiple movies since the owners rented out the parking lot for filming, such as "Pineapple Express".

Valley Plaza was one of the first open air malls west of the Mississippi River. It was distinctly oriented toward the car. In its heyday during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, Valley Plaza had several department stores, including a J.C. Penneys and a Sears, as well as a myriad of smaller stores for everyday goods, such as several supermarkets, a Thom McCanns, and a toy store.

Valley Plaza is in an inner-ring suburb and the opening of covered shopping malls nearby, such as the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square, the Sherman Oaks Galleria, and the Northridge Mall, usurped business. The 1994 Northridge quake caused substantial damage to this mall. JC Penney's structure was severely damaged and it took the 94 quake as an excuse to leave this otherwise underserved market. Sears remained.

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