Vacant, burned-out building on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks sparks concern among residents

Residents say the building has morphed into a nuisance and a gathering spot for the homeless.

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ByAmy Powell via KABC logo
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
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Frustrated residents in Sherman Oaks are calling on city officials to take swift action and knock down a prominent, burned-out building they say has morphed into a nuisance and a gathering spot for the homeless.

SHERMAN OAKS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Frustrated residents in Sherman Oaks are demanding city officials to take swift action and knock down a prominent burned-out building they say has morphed into a nuisance and a gathering spot for the homeless.

In April, a fire tore through the building located in the 15000 block of Ventura Boulevard between Noble and Kester avenues.

Firefighters managed to extinguish the flames, but people living in the area and neighboring businesses tell ABC7 nothing is being done to the charred structure that remains in place.

"There hasn't been, as far as I know, any efforts to clean it out, to restart the renovation, to knock the building, to do anything really. It's just been kind of left there," said Eli Weisenfeld with Earth 2 Comics, a comic book store located next to the building in question.

Workers at the store said the lingering smell of smoke from the fire, and trash left by people wandering around on the property, is hurting business.

Graffiti is scrawled across a fence surrounding the property, and some residents living in nearby condos overlooking the building said they're frustrated.

"This building continues to draw homeless transients, people who are scavenging, trying to find things of value in the building, and it's really sad because this is a nice area," said Jared Barboza, the president of the area's homeowner's association.

About a month ago, an unhoused man put up a tent in front of the building.

"The longer that fence is there, the longer nothing it's happening with that property, the more graffiti is going to show up," said Weisenfeld.

Barboza said the homeowner's association has attempted to contact Kreation Juicery, the company that owns the building, and complained to city officials, but say they have haven't had received a response.

"The entire community here has complained," he said. "We've sent numerous requests to our councilmember's office, we've submitted tickets with the city, we've tried contacting the owner. If they cared about the community, they would be responding to the community."

Eyewitness News contacted Los Angeles Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who represents District 4 which covers the Sherman Oaks area, and a spokesperson issued the following statement:

"Our office has been working diligently with the community for months to find a solution for that building that burned back in April ... we have been working with the city attorney and LA Building and Safety on the next steps to address this issue ... to hear that some members of that community are saying that we have not done anything at all is very disheartening and upsetting."

The spokesperson also told ABC7 there is no one living in the building and said no one has been living in that structure since the building had burned.