Icon Co. advances with Panorama project despite union appeals

Opponents of the redevelopment cites traffic, air quality issues

Rendering of ICON at Panorama City and Icon Co CEO Billy Ruvelson
Rendering of ICON at Panorama City and Icon Co CEO Billy Ruvelson

Icon Co. is now one step closer to achieving the long-awaited redevelopment of the Montgomery Ward in Panorama City.

A City Council committee rejected an appeal brought against the project, instead opting to recommend the newly revised $150 million project for final approval, the Daily News reported.

Labor unions fighting the project, dubbed Icon at Panorama, cited concerns about greenhouse gas emissions, air quality and traffic. But a Planning and Land Use Management Committee said the updated project would have less environmental impact than the original one.

Icon, which has revised the massive project three times, recently tacked on another 50 residential units. That added to concerns from the Laborers International Union of North America, Local Union 300 and the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters.

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The Beverly Hills-based developer initially planned to build 350 apartments and 250,000 square feet of commercial space. The firm later bumped up the multifamily portion to 422 residential units, while dropping the commercial component to only 200,000 square feet. The latest plan dropped the commercial space yet again, while increasing the number of units.

The L.A. Planning Commission approved the thrice-revised site in March.

Icon, led by Billy Ruvelson, paid $18 million for the site, the Los Angeles Times previously reported.

Once completed, the redevelopment would transform the abandoned Montgomery Ward building, a former retail haven in the San Fernando Valley, into a sprawling mixed-use center. Since the property was left vacant, homeless people and prostitutes have been plaguing the 9-acre site, the Daily News reported. [DN] — Natalie Hoberman