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Panorama City tower, vacant for decades, makes a comeback as 194 light-filled apartments

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Will the reopening mark a turning point for the neighborhood?

The Panorama Tower, now an apartment building.
Courtesy of Councilmember Nury Martinez’s office

A Panorama City office tower that sat vacant and tattered for almost three decades following the Northridge Earthquake has been revived.

The high-rise is now reopen as 194 light-filled apartments and is already 70 percent occupied, according to Los Angeles City Councilmember Nury Martinez. In a statement, she said community members “wanted something meaningful at this site and now we have it, with more to come.”

Rents start at $1,550 for a studio and $1,900 for a one-bedroom, according to Apartments.com.

The Panorama Towers building on Van Nuys Boulevard was designed by midcentury architect Welton Becket, whose firm designed the iconic Capitol Records building and the Cinerama Dome, both in Hollywood. The edifice opened in 1962, but was badly damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

After the earthquake, the building sat vacant. That made it a target, and in 2004, the city attorney filed a lawsuit against its then-owner, charging that the building was plagued by graffiti, broken windows, and trespassers.

Rents start at $1,550 for a studio and $1,900 for a one-bedroom, according to Apartments.com.

The Panorama Towers’ fate showed signs of a new life when developer Izek Shomof bought the property in 2015 for $12.5 million, with plans to rehabilitate it and open as an apartment complex. Residents were cautiously optimistic about the rehab when it was announced, with some unsure if it would actually get off the ground.

But it did. The Shomof Group’s renovations of the building have since included seismic retrofits, systems upgrades, and “green building compliance.” Two penthouses were also added to the rooftop.

The reopening marks a turning of a corner for Panorama City, Martinez said. In addition to the Northridge quake, the neighborhood was hard hit by closures of manufacturing operations that dotted the area and had helped its residents prosper.

Some of those locations have been transformed since, with more on the way. There is a plan to turn a former Montgomery Ward site into a seven-building complex with more than 600 apartments and 60,000 square feet of stores and restaurants and revamp the Panorama Mall with new shops and a hotel.