Construction at Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel moves ahead


Printed with permission of Kevin Peake

The construction at Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel located on the intersection of Coldwater Boulevard and Ventura Boulevard continues.

Ava Fattahi

The centuries-old Studio City gathering place known as Sportsmen’s Lodge is currently in the process of a $100 million renovation to become an outdoor mall with locally-based chain restaurants and name-brand retail stores. The project, funded by Midwood Investment & Development, is set for completion by June 2021.

Construction began in August 2019, and the 94,000- square-foot shopping and dining promenade was scheduled to open in late 2020, but construction delays and COVID-19 guidelines have slowed the project’s progress. The site, located a minute’s walk from the upper school campus, was founded in the 1880s as a hotel with a lake, patio and restaurant. The hotel will continue to operate on the existing land, but 23 shops and restaurants will open in the remaining land located at 12833 W. Ventura Blvd. Anchor tenants include the fitness brand Equinox and the organic grocery store Erewhon.

The Midwood group, which also developed the Malibu Country Mart, purchased the property in 2017 and drew plans and acquired permits in the two-year period between the land’s purchase time and the start of construction . The space is set to look like an open-air park with grassy trails and water features resembling the nearby Los Angeles River and Coldwater Canyon. Until demolition began in 2019, the lodge had not been renovated since 1962.

Studio City resident Tom Baker ’22 said he appreciates the renovation and plans on visiting the new lodge often, since it is within walking distance from his house.

“When I first heard about the construction, I was really excited,” Baker said. “I feel like there are only limited places to go within walking distance from campus, and we need a change from the usual Sharky’s [Woodfired Mexican Grill] or Philz [Coffee]. I live really close, so I definitely will go to the lodge once it’s open pretty often. I think the Valley has needed a place like this for a while, and I’m glad it will open before my senior year starts.”

Upper School Math Teacher Joshua Helston said he passes the construction site every day and feels that the renovation work has its benefits and drawbacks.

“If the area is zoned for business, and the city approved the plans, then I assume best intentions of all involved and that appropriate research and impact reports have been performed,” Helston said. “In fact, perhaps having a shopping center like this close to school might increase traffic density during non-peak times and thereby slow down the commuters who cruise down Coldwater Canyon at freeway speeds. However, this area near Coldwater and Ventura already gets very congested at the beginning and end of the school [or]workday, so this will probably get far worse.”

Confirmed dining tenants include sushi restaurant Sugarfish, grass-fed burger joint Hiho Cheeseburger and handmade pasta bar Uovo, all of which are owned by the Sugarfish Company. Physical training center Next Health, organic Mexican restaurant Tocaya and New York City-based ice cream shop Van Leeuwen have also signed year-long leases. No other retailers have been announced in the lodge’s plans thus far.