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S.C.V. History
March 23
1886 - Film director Robert N. Bradbury born in Washington state; launched John Wayne's career in Placerita Canyon [watch]

Guest commentary by Carl Kanowsky, Esq.
| Wednesday, Oct 24, 2012

Carl Kanowsky, Esq.

Last time, we covered some of the important steps that any prospective tenant should take before signing a long-term lease – such as confirming from third parties the things you’re told by the landlord or real estate agent, or talking with your possible new neighbors to see how business has been for them.

Your due diligence is serious business.  If you’re thinking of signing a five-year lease at $3,000 a month, that’s an $180,000 liability you’re assuming.  Before you commit to spend this money, you should get as much assurance as possible that it is a good investment.

In last week’s column, we asked what factors you should consider if you’re thinking about downtown Newhall as the location for your business.

For instance, how receptive is Newhall to new businesses?  The city has made efforts to improve the look of downtown.  Local merchants formed the Old Town Newhall Association, an organization created to support the preservation and revitalization of Newhall.  Having a support group to bolster your business must be a positive aspect.  And the exciting debut of the new Newhall Library should draw many new visitors to the area.

So why isn’t Newhall more successful?  Why don’t we see the crowds on a regular basis like we do at the Valencia Town Center?  And frankly, why isn’t there more diversity in the people now visiting the area?

As a potential renter in this area, you must ask yourself these important questions.

Remember, similar questions will crop up regardless of where you’re looking.  You know you’ve done more than scratch the surface with your due diligence if these questions have arisen.

From my discussions with Newhall business owners, customers are excited about what’s happening in the area.  The retailers applaud the monthly “Senses” event that the city has sponsored in the area but would like to see something on a more regular basis that brings a focus to various areas of Newhall.  They believe the new library should bring more pedestrian traffic, along with more cars.

But many customers have expressed concern for their personal safety.  They are worried about the numerous day workers and others loitering around.

But are these fears based in fact or simply perception?  What this means for your business is that either the area is unsafe and therefore should be avoided, or it’s a diamond in the rough that may pay back in the long run.

The best way to determine reality is to check the facts.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again: You need to do your investigation to get your questions answered.  The people who are advising you all have their own agendas and perspectives.  Yes, get their input, but don’t rely solely on that.

In the case of a location in Newhall, a visit to the Sheriff’s Station can provide many illuminating answers.

For instance, in 2011, only Malibu in all of the other regions patrolled by the Sheriff’s Department had a lower crime rate than the Santa Clarita Valley (which includes both the incorporated city and the unincorporated county areas).  This is pretty amazing when you consider that the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station is the largest in Los Angeles County.  From 2009, when Santa Clarita was number 67 in the City Crime Rankings, it improved to number 44 in the 2010 rankings.  We’re still waiting for the results from 2011, but according to Captain Paul Becker, things look good.

OK, you say, that’s all of Santa Clarita.  What about Newhall?

In 2011, Newhall accounted for just 11.2 percent of all Part 1 crimes in the SCV.  Part 1 crimes are homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, theft, and arson.  So, when Capt. Becker says, “It’s safe, it truly is,” he’s backed up by the statistics.

Besides the excellent work done by his deputies, Becker attributes the low crime rate to strong community involvement.  For instance, the Newhall Boys and Girls Club is essential in providing alternatives to kids in the 10-14 age group.

So, Newhall looks like it’s got great potential.  And you now know this not because someone’s told you, but because you’ve done a thorough job of due diligence.

Don’t sign a lease without doing the same research.


Carl Kanowsky is an attorney in Santa Clarita. He can be reached at cjk@kanowskylaw.com. Visit him online at www.kanowskylaw.com.

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