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Chatsworth, A History: How An LA Neighborhood's Asset Classes Are Coming Full Circle

Santa Susana Pass, Chatsworth, Los Angeles

The story of Chatsworth, a tale tied to the humble beginnings of American history, is quintessentially Californian.

Tongva-Fernandeno, Chumash-Venturano and Tataviam-Fernandeno Native Americans occupied the future LA residential neighborhood for approximately 8,000 years before the Spanish arrived in 1769. Spanish Missionaries Christianized the region until Mexico declared independence in 1821. 

Chatsworth would endure over 60 more years of upheaval, though it would become a geographically significant town in its own right due to its strategic location next to the Santa Susana Pass, a relay stagecoach stop for travelers between LA and San Francisco. The prosperous agricultural town joined the City of Los Angeles in 1915. 

In the years following World War I, Chatsworth gained international recognition for its high-quality production of oranges, figs, grapes, lemons and thoroughbred horses. The neighborhood’s scenery and proximity to Hollywood made it a popular movie filming location, and screen legends Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are both buried in nearby Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery.

The population grew after World War II, as industrial development moved into the region on the heels of North American Aviation’s rocket test site in Santa Susana. The industrial sector would fuel Chatsworth’s largest period of expansion in the 1960s, and led to its modern day prosperity.

Coming Full Circle

Various architectural elevation renderings of De Soto Plaza

The manufacturing industry continues to drive Chatsworth's economy, anchored by gas turbine manufacturer Capstone Turbine Corp., Natel Engineering and Hydraulics International. Several of the area's most active construction companies and general contractors have made names for themselves helping develop the San Fernando Valley and Chatsworth.

A bird's-eye rendering of De Soto Plaza

One example is Los Angeles-based general contractor Parker Brown. The company's expansive San Fernando Valley presence is growing with the addition of two ground-up industrial buildings at 9171 De Soto. The property, totaling 15K SF, is a new venture for real estate investment firm ANJAC Fashion Buildings/CAST Real Estate Holdings. The foray into Chatsworth is new for ANJAC, which got its start in 1964 when founders Annette and Jack Needleman began acquiring properties in the city’s Fashion District.

The site plan for De Soto Plaza

One could view ANJAC’s entrance into Chatsworth as a return to Hollywood glamour.

“It’s certainly an interesting arena to enter, particularly for a real estate group specializing in fashion,” Parker Brown co-founder and CEO John Parker said. “They haven’t been in this area before, and their presence lends an interesting flavor to a historically industrial and agricultural neighborhood.”

A rendering of De Soto Plaza as seen from Knapp Street

The $2.8M property will also be served by the Orange Line rapid bus system. Its reputation as the holy grail of Valley public transportation is almost a nod to Chatsworth’s history as a hub for intrastate travel.

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