In a 14-0 vote, the Los Angeles City Council has approved a $1-billion plan from French real estate holding company Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield to redevelop the struggling Westfield Promenade mall in Warner Center with housing, office space, and retail.

The Promenade 2035 development - slated for a roughly 34-acre property bounded by Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Oxnard Street, Owensmouth Avenue, and Erwin Street - calls for the construction of a phased 3.2-million-square-foot development consisting of:

  • up to 1,432 residential units;
  • 280,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space;
  • over 730,000 square feet of office space;
  • two hotels containing 572 guest rooms
  • a maximum 10,000-seat entertainment and sports center; and
  • parking for 5,655 vehicles.

Johnson Fain, HKS Architects, and Togawa Smith Martin headline the design team for the Promenade 2035 development, which calls for subdividing the sprawling mall property into smaller blocks through the creation of internal streets and pedestrian walkways.  A total of ten acres of open space is proposed in the project - including a large park area which would sit adjacent to the entertainment center.

Plans call for a range of low-rise and high-rise structures, the largest of which would stand 28 stories in height.  If built today, the project would include some of the tallest buildings in the Warner Center area.

Construction is scheduled to occur in multiple overlapping phases staring as early as 2021 and concluding by 2033, according to an environmental study conducted for the project.

The project's developer estimates that it will generate $1.9 billion in total economic output, while creating 10,800 construction jobs and 9,700 permanent jobs upon completion.

The Council's vote to approve Promenade 2035 affirms an earlier vote taken by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, and simultaneously denies an appeal from a Winnetka resident who had opposed a master conditional use permit for alcohol sales sought by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.

The project - which is the largest yet approved in the Warner Center specific plan area - will also be the first development in the neighborhood to include on-site affordable housing - specifically, 54 units of very low-income housing, 54 units of workforce housing, and 54 apartments reserved for area employees.

Approval of Promenade 2035 comes five years after the adoption of the Warner Center 2035 Plan, which has paved the way for the construction of thousands of new housing units - all of which have been market-rate homes to date.  The lack of affordable housing in the community have prompted a push from Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield to add an inclusionary zoning provision to the specific plan, potentially forcing developers to set aside apartments for lower-income households.

"With thousands of new housing units, job opportunities for our community, and a place-making new entertainment center, the Westfield Promenade 2035 project is a game-changing development for the West Valley," said Blumenfield in a news release. "Our housing affordability crisis will only be solved by building affordable units, and this project includes the very first affordable housing in Warner Center. Thanks to Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield for working so closely with me and the community stakeholders to design a project that helps meet this urgent need."

Besides the addition of on-site affordable housing, other revisions to the project since the initiation of entitlements in 2016 include a downscaling of the proposed arena - which was originally slated to include up to 15,000 seats.  The smaller entertainment venue was substituted with additional office space in the updated plan.

Approval of the project also comes at a time of uncertainty for its developer, which is slated to change chief executives in January following a campaign from activist shareholders who have pushed the company to sell much its American real estate.

Nonetheless, the company has invested heavily in the Warner Center neighborhood in the past five years, completing the $350-million Village shopping center on an adjacent plot in 2015 and breaking ground on a $250-million renovation of the Westfield Topanga mall earlier this year.

The Promenade 2035 complex also joins several other large, multi-phase developments slated to rise in Warner Center, such as Adler Realty Investments' proposed housing, office, and retail complex at Burbank Boulevard and De Soto Avenue.  Canadian developer Triple Five, owner of the Mall of America, acquired a former Rocketdyne facility on Canoga Avenue in 2018, and is rumored to be pursuing a large mixed-use project on the property.