The salad days.
For me, this time period I associate with growing up in North Hollywood just off of Colfax and Oxnard.
In those days, I would spend a lot of time in my formative years at Laurel Plaza.
I remember family photos taken there, ice skating, playing video games and learning about fashion through the eyes of the May Company.
The mall was a hotbed of activity even as the Galleria was on the rise.
If you drove in on a weekend, odds were you’d be circling around the periphery looking for parking.
Of course I biked, but then again, I was a kid.
One of my most cherished memories was when my dad took me to the parking lot at a young age and let me steer the car while I was sitting on his lap.
The beginning of the end happened in 1994 when the Northridge earthquake ruined the entire mall except the department store segment.
Shopping continued on in the form of a Macy’s, but everyone knew even after adding a small office complex that Laurel Plaza was doomed as we know it.
I would continue to support the store especially as it was an excellent place to take my daughter since there were few patrons to contend with.
The final days of Macy’s
When the announcement was made that Laurel Plaza will be transformed into housing, office and commercial space forming this over one million square feet of a megaproject, I don’t think anyone was surprised.
This development seems drawn out in similar fashion to the newly minted Westfield Topanga.
Trendy outdoor malls are all the rage again.
The community is concerned about the scale of the project, but I initially guessed that it was going to be larger.
Noho West will give Laurel Plaza a completely new look (image by Noho West)
Looking at some of the conceptual drawings, the roadways appear to be on the narrow spectrum, but so do the sidewalks meaning you may have some awkward public spaces.
While the garage may have ample parking, having all those cars concentrated near the 170 freeway is going to leave few apertures for drivers to reach exits on Laurel Canyon and Oxnard.
At least the May Company building will be preserved, but will be offices instead of shopping.
Looks a little tight in there (image by NohoWest)
I went there one last time a week ago to relive some of my fondest memories.
While the store was reduced to a bare selection of items, I still remember the first time I actually cared about purchasing a particular style of clothes and how cool I thought I was buying an Indiana Jones t-shirt.
Laurel Plaza was far from perfect and so is this new incarnation.
People will make new memories here, I just hope they are as cherished as mine.