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Former Keyes Chevy Dealer To Become Mixed-Use Residential-Retail Complex in Van Nuys

Image courtesy Google Maps
Image courtesy Bing Maps
Both the SFVBJ and Urbanize.LA reported that the Van Nuys Neighborhood Coucil's Planning and Land Use Committee has given the green light for a major development at the former Keyes Chevrolet dealership at 6001 Van Nuys Blvd (also uses address of 5949, 6007, 6015, 6059 and 14500 Aetna St). 

The proposal consists of 324 residential units, 17,000 sqft of commercial floor space, and 1 acres of open space on a 4.5 acre property at the in between the streets of Aetna and Oxnard directly across from the Orange Line depot. 

The property measures 164,343 sqft (4.5 acres including alley) with a 70,000 sqft showroom built in 1964. The property was last purchased by Rodrigues Holdings LLC based in Pacoima for $5,745,557 on July 30, 2010. I cannot confirm the seller but I believe its Keyes who moved directly across the street in a brand new showroom that can be seen here

In terms of architectural significance, the building was designed by Ralph Bowerman who also designed the Woodland Hills and Canoga Park Public Libraries with the former now demolished and the other protected (Thanks to Marcello at LA Conservancy for arch. info). The trend to demolish and/or renovate the older dealerships is nothing new to the SFV as: 
  1. The David Ellis Chrysler and Jeep mid century modern showroom was renovated.
  2. The former Bob Smith BMW dealership is set to become either a Norms or mixed use site.
  3. The Paul Williams designed Livingston Motor Company showroom was demolished.
  4. The former Courtesy Dodge in Reseda will become 254 apartment units.
  5. And the former Neill Lehr Cadillac in Northridge plans to be demolished for a mixed-use site.
I wanted to dig further and find more info more about this location which revealed that the dealership was previously a Rydell Chevy dealership but I dont know when it converted to a Rydell. Originally, the dealership opened as Pollard-Ravenscroft, then Pollard-Whitman, and then Valley Motor Center. I dont know what followed after Valley Motor Center unless it was Rydell. Martin Pollard who started this dealership also owned many other dealerships nearby including Casa de Cadillac (You can view more pics and an LA Times article below).  

Prior to the car dealership, it appears that this location was a manufacturing plant according to a October 31, 1954 Valley News newspaper article, "Robert Morton organ plant at 6001 Van Nuys Blvd., has been purchased by Arthur B. Zweebell and Associates, manufacturers of radio cabinets" (A February 6, 2011 Daily News article also makes the same reference). 

Image courtesy Los Angeles Public Library
The Valley's first piano and organ manufacturing plant, Johnston Organ and Piano Manufacturing Co., moved to Van Nuys in 1913. The firm changed hands in 1915, becoming the California Organ Company, and finally, in 1917 it became the Robert Morton Organ Company. During the 1920s Robert Morgan became the second largest producer of theater organs in America, behind the celebrated and respected firm of Wurlitzer. Nicknamed the "Wonder Morton", The Robert Morton organs were named for the first names of the two sons of the company's owner; with their splendidly built large scale pipework and impressive consoles, they were well suited both sonically and visually for the spacious movie palaces. The Morton Company closed permanently in 1933. The Robert Morton organ plant was one of the largest organ manufacturers in America in the 1920s but closed permanently in 1933 (Los Angeles Public Library). You can view more images of the plant at the MSFV and a lengthy discussion at the Skyscraper forum

You can view more SFV Architecture and Real Estate here

1947 image showing what appears to be a manufacturing plant but not sure if it is the Robert Morton Organ company. Image courtesy
1972 image showing a fully stocked and functioning car dealership but dont know which one. Image courtesy

Above images courtesy Google Maps

Above image courtesy Yelp
Image courtesy Loopnet (available for rent at $25K per month at this time)
Image courtesy
Image courtesy MSFV

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Marty Mcfly

Anything and everything about the San Fernando Valley. This blog will take you back in time when the valley was covered with dirt and orange groves to a leader in the space race to its current status as America's suburb. Come along and join me on this adventure, I guarantee you have been influenced/impacted by the San Fernando Valley in one form or another even if you have never visited or heard of the SFV.

1 comment to ''Former Keyes Chevy Dealer To Become Mixed-Use Residential-Retail Complex in Van Nuys "

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