6353 Van Nuys Bl.


6353 Van Nuys Bl is at the NW corner of Friar St and VNB, one block south of Victory.

I recently came across a commercial real estate advertisement for this building.

It is a 1939, streamline moderne style structure with 7,330 feet of leaseable space. Asking price to purchase is $2.1 million dollars.

The property description is very pleasant, sounding like a building that Mildred Pierce might have set her eyes upon:

“This renovated property is located at the signalized intersection of the northwest corner of Friar St. & Van Nuys Blvd. in Van Nuys, in close proximity to many government agencies, local institutions as well as a dozen car dealerships, all within a 2-mile radius. The Los Angeles Superior Court, the LA Department of Building and Safety, the Van Nuys Library and the DMV Office attract a large number of visitors and help to create a traffic count of over 36,000 cars per day. The property is located in an Opportunity Zone.”

On the DWP historical site, there is a photograph of this building, and that corner, and the bustling, prosperous, clean, diagonal parking surroundings of Van Nuys Boulevard in the 1950s. It housed an Owl Drug Store, a chain of its time. Back then, like now, Angelenos spent a large amount of their leisure time walking around drug stores and imagining that various potions for sale would restore youth and keep one alive for many years.

Postcard view looking north on Van Nuys Boulevard toward Friar Street with Owl Drug Store at the N/W corner.  Across the street, on the N/E corner, stands Cowdrey’s Pharmacy and the Beneficial Finance Company office.  Behind that can be seen the signs for Hart’s Jewelers and the Oasis Club “-DWP

VNB at Victory looking northwest. 1955 (DWP)

That was then. What exists now is too dirty and depraved for the family audience of this blog.

What is the use again of belaboring the tired state of Van Nuys in 2019? But belabor I must……

Beyond the walls of 6353 Van Nuys Bl. hundreds of people sleep on the street, behind alleys, on bus benches. Nobody shops here willingly anymore, in a state of happiness or anticipation or delight.

What we have now are memories of lawful and patrolled streets peopled by legitimate industries from the bad old days when women were living in #metoo times and were forced to wear dresses, hats, gloves, heels, and hose and men were enslaved in lifetime skilled jobs, promised pensions after retirement, with $2 a month health insurance premiums and put into paying $64.99 a month mortgages. Their children walked and rode bikes to local schools, and might have even gone to the corner store to buy candies or add to their stamp collections. Entertainment consisted of many musicals, westerns, dramas, comedies staring such forgotten nobodies as Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall or Van Nuys’ Marilyn Monroe.

How lucky we are to be living now when our phones are our life and life beyond our phone is of no interest to us because what we want and desire is entirely online.

2 thoughts on “6353 Van Nuys Bl.

  1. Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. What you’re leaving out are all the neighborhoods and towns across the country that where actively emptying out and falling apart in the 1950s as places like Van Nuys was being built up and thriving. the pendulum has just swung around over time. And I might suggest that Van Nuys is still a much more desirable place than many others these days – if you have a halfway respectable income and own at least a little property.

    I had friends come for dinner a few days ago. The wife mentioned that she and her husband were looking to buy an investment property with friends. If we pooled our resources we could minimize risks and purchase a better property collectively than any of us could individually. I was all on board as I’ve done this successfully in the past. That’s why I still live in San Francisco and haven’t been squeezed out by rising rents and home prices.

    On the one hand current paper investments seem decidedly risky as we appear to be in another bubble. At the same time savings are losing value as near zero interest rates chew up buying power relative to real inflation – which is significantly different from the official under reported inflation rate. So they’re thinking of rental property. So am I.

    Given the insane cost of mediocre property in California they’re looking at the Midwest (where they are originally from) as the best opportunity. And no, they aren’t interested in being slum lords. There are responsible good landlords out there.

    I asked her what their parameters were. What kind of building? What sort of neighborhood? What price point? She said the primary driver was the quality of the people. First you find good people. Then you reverse engineer the rest.

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  2. The only thing that has gotten better since then is we got rid of angled parking (I can only imagine the thousands of fender-benders those caused.) Probably wasn’t much of a problem when they were laid out in the 20s, but by the 50s………

    It helped when everyone spoke the same language (and could therefore easily communicate with one another). Though I guess when I think about it, mostly everyone in the heart of Van Nuys DOES speak the same language, just that…….well, I just know enough to barely get by, kinda sorta.

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