A new member of the Westwood Village Improvement Association said he wants to involve landlords more in the Westwood Village community.
The association’s board of directors unanimously appointed John Heidt, owner of Heidt Torres Co., a real estate agency, to occupy a vacant property owner’s seat in Zone 1 of the association’s boundaries at its monthly meeting Thursday
Heidt, who has served in various leadership roles in Westwood, such as the board of trustees at Westwood United Methodist Church, said he thinks his ties to community organizations will help him attract successful businesses to the Village. He added he wants to help landlords work together to bring in tenants.
Heidt said he wants to bring in more businesses like Sur La Table because he thinks household retail and cooking classes appeal to multiple demographics of Village residents and visitors.
“A good business can serve everyone,” he said. “They serve the students, they serve the grad students, the faculty and the community at large, the homeowners and the apartment dwellers.”
Heidt said he hopes to work closely with landlords to get a more complete perspective on the Village and address some of its issues. He added he plans to increase collaboration between landlords and the association by making them more aware of what the association is working on.
“I am going to get consensus and communicate with landlords to create more of a cohesive, joint concern about Westwood Village and what can get done as a group of owners to make the Village better,” he said.
Heidt added he will encourage landlords to preserve some of their historical landmark buildings, like the Kinross Cornerstone Building on the corner of Kinross and Gayley avenues.
Andrew Thomas, executive director of the association, said he thinks Heidt will be able to provide insight to the board because he is a longstanding property owner and community member.
“It’s a privilege for us to have someone with such ties in the community,” Thomas said. “I think that’s going to be very valuable for us going forward.”
Heidt also said he is excited about Westwood’s role in the upcoming 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. However, he said he thinks some of the projects for the Olympics, including the Metro Purple Line subway extension, may be challenging because they could increase traffic in Westwood and make it less accessible. He added he wants to make sure the construction does not displace residents and visitors.
“I like challenges. I think I can be very useful during this disruption that we all know is coming,” he said. “There’s major challenges and then the joy of the Olympics and I want to be a part of it.”