Does Amazon have eyes on Warner Center and the former Toys ‘R’ Us? – Daily News

on Sep17
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The plot thickens.

What’s happening to the former Warner Center Toys ‘R’ Us? Well, that answer could be emerging, as the din of construction echoes from 6245 Topanga Canyon Blvd., where a See’s Candy and nail salon and several other tenants in the shopping center there are getting ready for a new neighbor.

That’s where for months, right across the street from Westfield Topanga and the Village, a mysterious new store is on the rise, since the old Toys “R” Us there closed in 2018.

Since then, what we knew was that the project applicant — Erwin Bucy, PCG Woodland Hills, LLC —  proposed “tenant improvements” along with a change of use from retail to the supermarket within the existing 33,574 square-foot building, according to the city planning website. We’d also learned was that the new project was going to be “a generic market.”

It’s not such a mystery, though, to its future neighbors.

They’ve been told that the store will be a new concept Amazon destination,  possibly a grocery store, opening in November, according to shopping center tenants and published reports.

An Amazon representative said the company “doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation.” A construction worker there on Monday said he couldn’t say either, “but you guys are going to love it.”

What we do know is what it’s going to look like, it’s dark-colored top facade with windows stretching across the bottom front.

A rendering of a new store at (Photo courtesy of L.A. City Planning Department).

​We also know Inc. announced earlier this year plans to open dozens of grocery stores in U.S. cities, according to the The Wall Street Journal — a move said to expand tech giant’s footprint beyond its Whole Foods Market chain.

The first of such stories are said to be opening in Los Angeles as early as the end of 2019, though it wasn’t clear if the Warner Center location was the first in the area. Locations in shopping centers in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia were also in the works, the Journal reported.

Amazon also launched its high-tech Go convenience store more than a  year ago, where shoppers can pull items off the shelf and walk out.

In the new store, employees simply swipe those who want to pay by cash through the turnstile entrance. After shoppers grab what they want off the shelves, an employee scan seach item with a mobile device, take the cash, give customers their change from a cash drawer and hand them a receipt.

At the time of the news, Cameron Janes, who oversees Amazon’s stores, says the way it accepts cash could change in the future.

“This is how we’re starting,” he says. “We’re going to learn from customers on what works and what doesn’t work and then iterate and improve it over time.”

Locally, such a store would add to the Amazon footprint in Warner Center, just blocks away from the Whole Foods at Canoga Avenue and Ventura Boulevard. It was unclear what, if anything, would happen to that store, if another Amazon-owned grocery store were to move into the area.

The area is seeing other development, too.

The former Toys “R” Us develepment is only steps away from another project in construction at the intersection of Erwin Street and Variel Avenue. Q East, at the northeast corner of Erwin Street and Variel Avenue, will consist of a seven-story building with 241 apartments, a parking garage, and street-level commercial uses.

Developers hope the complex “will attract millennials, young professionals and bi-coastal residents to the Woodland Hills area.”

Not far away, Westfield Promenade LLC wants to demolish more than 640,000 square feet of the existing Westfield Promenade Shopping Center to build a sprawling mixed-use hub. It includes thousands of residential units, retail and restaurant space, offices, hotel and entertainment.

The 320,000-square-foot entertainment and sports center that developers envision for the corner of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Oxnard Street has raised the ire of local residents, who have challenged the plan as out of step with the area.




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