Underrated SCV: Do you want to know a secret?

In the few years I’ve been writing about Santa Clarita, I’ve caused my share of trouble. I’ve exposed some things that made some powerful people very uncomfortable, and even managed to make some powerful people much less powerful.

But I’ve never been discouraged from writing a piece as much as I’ve been spooked off of this one. I’ve been yelled at from passing vehicles, threatened to my face, and warned on social media. But I won’t be silenced. My obligations are to the readers and the truth.

The best-kept secret in Santa Clarita is known to tens of thousands, but effectively unknown to a hundred thousand. It’s the Target in Canyon Country.

If you shop there, you already know what I’m talking about — and you’re probably mad at me already. If you’re puzzled or disinterested, stick around for a minute.

One night, when talking to some other writers, I brought up some story ideas for the new site.

“I’m going to write about underrated things in Santa Clarita, the best-kept secrets.”

“OK”

“My first will be about the Target in Canyon Country”

[puzzled gaze]

“You know, the one off of the 14, Golden Valley…”

“Why?” one interjects.

I light up, “Oh, it’s huge. You can park anywhere, it’s never crowded…”

“Oh, I know where it is. Why?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why would you do that? Why would you tell everyone?”

Another person jumps in, puts his finger in my face. He might have referenced Fight Club. He told me to back off. I laughed it off, but quickly noticed that I was the only one laughing.

Apart from what I’m risking, this is also costing me something. I shop there, and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t. And if you must, please keep it to yourself.

But I have my duties, and you deserve the truth. Mostly because you’ve been doing it wrong.

There is little in Santa Clarita that is manmade that isn’t mediocre. The reason why we live here is because of its better-than-average mediocrity. And Target is the best-case-scenario of a big box, middlebrow, general-purpose retail chain. Likewise Santa Clarita is the best-case-scenario of the sprawling, middlebrow, general-purpose Los Angeles suburb that it is.

But if life leads you into quiet, less-eventful suburbia, why not choose the better option? So it’s SCV over Simi, Target over Wal Mart, and the Canyon Country Target over the Valencia Target.

But why?

IMG_4197

It’s really big. Just the right size. It’s not cramped and buzzing with tension like Valencia, but it’s not a tourist attraction like the Mall of America-inspired Greatland Target in Burbank, either.

tarhet hall

It’s (almost) never crowded. Big aisles, few people. Take it at your own pace. Walk a few laps, no one will notice. You won’t be bumped into the iPad case, nor trapped in a bath towel aisle. Avoid the day before school, the day after Thanksgiving, and maybe Christmas eve, and you’ll leave less stressed and hurried than you entered.

taget_limo2

Someone knows what’s up

Parking is ridiculously easy. If most SCV parking lots are lakes, this is an ocean. There are even walkways between some parking lanes.

target view

That view is ridiculous. I don’t know if there’s a Target with a back yard like this one, a panoramic western view of the valley’s east side. It’s even better at night. To the north are the highest peaks in city limits.

You can borrow from the neighbors. Did you ever hope to get a box of Legos, a box of cereal, a storage box, and a box of screws in one trip and realize that Target’s hardware section is less robust than you remembered? That really sucks if you’re in Valencia. But here, you can walk to Lowes. Did you ever forget to put that laundry in the dryer, so you make that early morning run to Target so you can show up to work in a different shirt than yesterday? (just me? ok). Well, if Target doesn’t have it, there’s always Kohl’s. Or any of several other big box, middlebrow, narrow-purpose retail chains.

It’s not Wal Mart. No, it’s not.

Caution: the fun won’t last forever. The less-attractive part of the view consists of acres of graded hills, suspended in their 2007 state. As the real estate market thaws, those hills will fill up with hundreds, if not thousands of Target shoppers.

Side effects: I think gigantic parking lots are a waste of land, and one of the least attractive things about the city. They are bad policy, encourage bad habits, and discourage good ones. I also mourn the loss of the small retailers that lost their footing when Target and the like came to this town (and every other town) a quarter-century ago. But what’s done is done. You’re going to shop at Target one way or another. You might not have a chance against the amoral glacier of American capitalism, but you can choose which Target to go to.

Also: you’re welcome.

13 thoughts on “Underrated SCV: Do you want to know a secret?

    • Hi Mike. It may be too late to keep the Plaza at Golden Valley Ranch Shopping Center a secret. The Chili’s and Sizzler Restaurants in the project are near the top of each chains list nationally, as far as volume is concerned. I am personally pleased you like the center, and those gorgeous views. My firm conceived of this center in 1987, and worked with three different property owners for nearly 20 years to get it built. In addition to the Shopping Center, this project donated 980 acres of open space/wilderness park land to the City for free, along with seven miles of public trails, which remains the largest donation of land in City history. There were 4800 mature oak trees untouched as part of the 980 acres, all part of an annexation out of County jurisdiction into the City, so the shopping center sales tax revenue stays in our community. On a related issue, there is this 50 year old Valencia centric propaganda that keeps the charade going that Valencia is the SCV’s richest area. As far as absolute numbers of truly wealthy people, it is, in fact, the poorest. Before folks get all huffy about that fact, the proof is easy to find. If someone get wealthy (I mean hundreds of millions of dollars wealthy), wants to stay in Santa Clarita, and build a real showplace of a custom estate, with a 15,000 square foot main house (or larger), guest houses, servants houses, pool house, tennis court, private putting greens, horse corrals and barns, 30 car garage, and so forth, all on a cozy ten, twenty, forty acres, or more location, where in the SCV can that be done? Not anywhere in Valencia or Stevenson Ranch. To prove this, just access the map of the SCV on the internet that shows each and every lot size, city and county, valley wide. Canyon Country has at least 1300 large lot estates ranging from one acre minimums to hundreds of 2 or more acre lots, to dozens of lots of 5, 10, 20, 30 acres or more, most fully gated, with houses not visible from the road. Valencia and Stevenson Ranch, by contrast, are towns of little lots, of six to eight homes per acre or even more. In all of Valencia and Stevenson Ranch, there may be 10 lots that are not quite one acre in size. After Canyon Country, the next richest community, in terms of absolute numbers of truly wealthy people, living in really huge custom estates are found in Agua Dulce. After Agua Dulce, in somewhat of a tie, are Newhall and Castaic. Even Saugus has a fair number of large, luxury estates, located in San Fransisquito and Seco Canyons. Way at the bottom of the list, with virtually no large lot, truly custom estates to be found, is Valencia and Stevenson Ranch. Again, just look at the lot size map of the SCV to learn the truth. Sorry to burst the myth bubble folks. My friends in Canyon Country will not be happy this has gotten out. Anyway, thanks Mike for the nice comments about a project that I worked on for 20 years to bring to fruition. Last comparison. Compare the views of the Plaza at Golden Valley Ranch Shopping Center that is presented to passersby from the 14 freeway, to the views of the Valencia Market Place Shopping Center, as seen from the Golden State 5 freeway in Valencia. No question which is the better looking.

  1. Please….. please….. please. Don’t shop here, then. Stay at the dirty Valencia Target and Kohl’s. This is a terrific freeway close shopping center. There is Lowes, BBB and Staple’s, etc. I love that these stores are clean, well stocked and have easy parking. Mike Devlin, I’m calling you out! :) You have a biiig mouth!

  2. Love that Target, although I find it’s sometimes understaffed. Less crowded and less open registers. Takes about as long to shop, but at least it’s clean, quiet and there is less risk of getting run over in the parking lot by soccer moms on their cell phones.

  3. Yay to everyone who thinks the CC Target is beneath them. We don’t want Awesometown snobs shopping among us, upper class none snobs anyway. You have your own Target. Enjoy.

  4. I really need to get out of Valencia more… thanks Mike!

    And…

    I feel the same way about Placerita Jr. High. The hidden gem in this valley!

  5. Hi Mike. It may be too late to keep the Plaza at Golden Valley Ranch Shopping Center a secret. The Chili’s and Sizzler Restaurants in the project are near the top of each chains list nationally, as far as volume is concerned. I am personally pleased you like the center, and those gorgeous views. My firm conceived of this center in 1987, and worked with three different property owners for nearly 20 years to get it built. In addition to the Shopping Center, this project donated 980 acres of open space/wilderness park land to the City for free, along with seven miles of public trails, which remains the largest donation of land in City history. There were 4800 mature oak trees untouched as part of the 980 acres, all part of an annexation out of County jurisdiction into the City, so the shopping center sales tax revenue stays in our community. On a related issue, there is this 50 year old Valencia centric propaganda that keeps the charade going that Valencia is the SCV’s richest area. As far as absolute numbers of truly wealthy people, it is, in fact, the poorest. Before folks get all huffy about that fact, the proof is easy to find. If someone get wealthy (I mean hundreds of millions of dollars wealthy), wants to stay in Santa Clarita, and build a real showplace of a custom estate, with a 15,000 square foot main house (or larger), guest houses, servants houses, pool house, tennis court, private putting greens, horse corrals and barns, 30 car garage, and so forth, all on a cozy ten, twenty, forty acres, or more location, where in the SCV can that be done? Not anywhere in Valencia or Stevenson Ranch. To prove this, just access the map of the SCV on the internet that shows each and every lot size, city and county, valley wide. Canyon Country has at least 1300 large lot estates ranging from one acre minimums to hundreds of 2 or more acre lots, to dozens of lots of 5, 10, 20, 30 acres or more, most fully gated, with houses not visible from the road. Valencia and Stevenson Ranch, by contrast, are towns of little lots, of six to eight homes per acre or even more. In all of Valencia and Stevenson Ranch, there may be 10 lots that are not quite one acre in size. After Canyon Country, the next richest community, in terms of absolute numbers of truly wealthy people, living in really huge custom estates are found in Agua Dulce. After Agua Dulce, in somewhat of a tie, are Newhall and Castaic. Even Saugus has a fair number of large, luxury estates, located in San Fransisquito and Seco Canyons. Way at the bottom of the list, with virtually no large lot, truly custom estates to be found, is Valencia and Stevenson Ranch. Again, just look at the lot size map of the SCV to learn the truth. Sorry to burst the myth bubble folks. My friends in Canyon Country will not be happy this has gotten out. Anyway, thanks Mike for the nice comments about a project that I worked on for 20 years to bring to fruition. Last comparison. Compare the views of the Plaza at Golden Valley Ranch Shopping Center that is presented to passersby from the 14 freeway, to the views of the Valencia Market Place Shopping Center, as seen from the Golden State 5 freeway in Valencia. No question which is the better looking.

  6. The view from the back of Golden Valley Plaza is fantastic. I take visitors there first to show them the SCV at its most lovely. Stores are great and generally uncrowded. For now. Just wait.

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