The intersection of Lankershim Boulevard and Weddington Street was once dotted with small body shops that took dents out of cars.

These days it is the seemingly ever-growing home of NoHo Commons: a $375 million project by J.H. Snyder Co. and the L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency.

"This is the heart of North Hollywood," said Jerry Snyder, founder and senior partners of his namesake development company. "It makes a major statement."

Covering about three acres, the project is just steps from where the Metro Red Line subway meets the Metro Orange Line busway. Its primary aim is to create a nexus of culture, commerce and transportation a place where Angelenos can work, live, go to school, deposit a check, buy groceries and take in a movie without ever starting their cars.

Already built at the site are 700 residential units and a shopping center that includes a Wells Fargo Bank, Hows market, Cold Stone Creamery, Pete's coffee house and Daphne's Greek restaurant. Under construction is a parking structure and nine-story office building, complete with kitchens and classrooms. Sometime in August it is slated to become the new home of the Art Institute of California-Hollywood, which offers programs in design, media arts, fashion and at its new location cooking and culinary arts.

"The neighborhood is conducive of supporting our college with its combination of apartments, dining, retail and entertainment choices. The proximity of the Red and Orange lines will make us far more accessible to a greater number of people," said Greg Marick, president of the school, which now has its main Los Angeles offices in the Mid-Wilshire district.

"We are absolutely excited about coming. The building itself is conducive to creative expression; there is lots of light, it feels very open and there are lots of specialized spaces taking advantage of the unique footprint of the building."

Still to be constructed is a Laemmle movie theater and refurbished Phil's Diner a North Hollywood 1920s-era landmark built in a classic railroad-car style. The restaurant now sits, relocated from its previous Chandler Boulevard location, on the NoHo property awaiting rebirth.

Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, who represents the neighborhood, has called the project "a crossroads" that will one day "make people feel that they're at home in NoHo again."

At its heart, however, is the place where the subway meets the bus. For people living in the nearby apartments or attending classes at the institute, Snyder said, life will be a whole lot simpler. "The subway was the impetus. Being close to one is very important."


NoHo Commons

Intersection of Lankershim Boulevard and Weddington Street, North Hollywood

Description: 700 residential units, a shopping center and parking structure, nine-story office building and seven-screen Laemmle Theater on three acres near the Orange Line busway and Metro Red Line

Noteworthy: A new Phil's Diner will be built around the original 1920s-era icon with its lost neon sign re-created.

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