Woodland Hills center is getting a $13-million upgrade

Woodland Hills center is getting a $13-million upgrade


A popular strip mall south of the Ventura Freeway in Woodland Hills is getting a $13-million makeover that includes two new retailers and more choices for grocery shoppers and diners.

Bristol Farms and The Boiling Crab are moving into the El Camino Shopping Center at the corner of Avenue San Luis and Mulholland Drive.

This marks a return to the Woodland Hills market for upscale Bristol Farm, which once had a store at the corner of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Erwin Street. This is the first of two Boiling Crab restaurants planned for the San Fernando Valley.

Bristol Farms is 1.7 miles from the Calabasas Gelson’s, another upscale grocer. The Boiling Crab is less than a mile from Kings Fish House at the Commons at Calabasas Center.

Regency Centers, which owns the property, saw an opportunity to freshen the strip mall when Bellingham, Washington-based Haggen Inc. filed for bankruptcy after a failed foray into the California market, said property manager John Naha.

“When the Haggen went out… we were able to lease it to Bristol Farms,” he said of the space that is roughly in the middle of the center.

Carson-based Bristol Farms did not return a request for comment.

The 30,000-square-foot space is the biggest at El Camino and housed a Vons for years.

“This is a property we have always really liked and we were waiting for the right time for redevelopment. It’s a great shopping center located just off the freeway in a great neighborhood,” said Naha. “And we have some great visibility from the 101 Freeway.”

One store that drivers will be able to spot is The Boiling Crab, a family-owned Gardena-based chain with seven restaurants in Los Angeles County.

It took over the building at the north end of the mall that had been occupied by Islands, which moved to Westfield Topanga.

The restaurant specializes in Cajun/Creole seafood.

The chain was started in 1994 by Sinh and Dada Nguyen, who developed a taste for the Southern cuisine while living on the Texas Gulf Coast.

The restaurants have developed a loyal following and the chain is active on social media, said Winnie Vu, the company’s marketing manager.

“We’ve been fortunate through the years to have great customers who help drive our growth,” said Vu. “We have plans to expand beyond California but because Southern California is our backyard, we will continue to look for quality sites here and believe the Valley is a good match for us. We like Woodland Hills because we feel the community there is a good fit for our brand.”

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The company is also opening a restaurant in Burbank.

The mall makeover also includes an upgrade to the parking lot, new sidewalks and landscaping.

“We started last month and should wrap up by the first quarter of next year. It’s going to make it a much nicer environment for shopping,” said Naha of the renovation.

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