Foothill Boulevard and Honolulu Avenue are the main thoroughfares in the community of Crescenta Valley. There are buildings that have been along the roadways for years, like the 1920s stone church St. Luke’s of the Mountains, and buildings that have been torn down, remodeled and reworked.
It’s interesting sometimes to look at the signs for sale and lease, perhaps wondering what lies just beyond the green tarped/wired fences of some of the vacant properties.
At the southwest corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Foothill Boulevard is the vacant lot that once housed Mehran’s Mobile service station. The building has been gone and the lot vacant for many years until finally a sign reading Wells Fargo appeared on the fence.
“This will be a full-service retail branch, which will offer Wells Fargo’s whole array of products and services. Wells Fargo is planning on constructing a stand-alone building of approximately 3,500 square feet at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue. Wells Fargo is targeting a fourth quarter 2016 opening date with construction taking approximately six months,” said Ann Penn, VP Corporate Communications, Greater Los Angeles, Wells Fargo Bank, in an email response to CVW questions.
“This store will allow Wells Fargo to better serve the residents of the La Crescenta and La Cañada communities as there is currently about a five mile gap between existing locations along Foothill Boulevard. Patrons will have convenient access to the bank as there will be entry/exit points from both Foothill and Pennsylvania and the site will have exclusive bank parking as well. There will not be a drive-up ATM as part of the store at this time,” she added.
Heading east on Foothill Boulevard at the southeast corner of Sunset Avenue is a vacant lot that once held aging housing. The lot has been vacant for some time but recently there appeared a sign for sale by Main Properties. The 22,672 square foot property is zoned for a commercial shopping center, according to the real estate representative.
Another change is not of a building being built or torn down but of a long time staple in the community that is expanding.
“Village Travel, which has served the community since 1979 at 2331 Honolulu Ave., is now a subsidiary of Montecito Village Travel, a high end travel agency serving the Santa Barbara community,” said co-owner of Village Travel Andrea Beatty.
She and her husband Charles have owned Village Travel since 1982. After being the sole proprietors of the business for so many years Beatty said the situation is new but is working out “really well.”
“Of course we miss coming into our office,” she said. “Our agents now all work from home but overall it is working out really well.”
She added being a subsidiary of Montecito Village Travel is mutually beneficial.
“It offers advantages for us and our customers,” she said.
Continuing west on Honolulu Avenue into the 2600 block is the business formally known as The Mix.
The bar has been closed for several years. In 2005, The Mix was issued a Conditional Use Permit by the city of Glendale. In 2010 that permit was revoked, but between those five years there were several complaints, concerns and visits from the Glendale Police Dept. Neighbors on streets like nearby Sycamore Avenue shared their concerns with the city, and the police, on several occasions about the noise, and the clientele staying in the parking lot to “party” long after the bar had closed its doors.
The 2010 violation was not the first; the bar had its permit suspended just a year earlier.
The Mix closed its doors and has been dormant ever since. Developer Art Simonian purchased the property and began talking to neighbors about a new development.
Grant Michaels, Montrose/Verdugo City/Sparr Heights Residents and Homeowners Association, said Simonian has met with residents and the public on several occasions prior to applying for a permit to build proposed condos on The Mix lot.
Michaels said that Simonian is unlike many developers who file the paperwork, get the plans and then talk to neighbors.
“In most cases the way a developer of a property has worked is the owner works with the city and comes up with a plan. The only notice [required] is two weeks prior to the hearing [concerning the property],” Michaels said. “So for a homeowners association and for neighbors things are quiet. They don’t know anything is being planned, then get a notice there is a public meeting and here is the staff report.”
Michaels said as a homeowners association it has always been challenging to respond to these types of development in a timely manner.
“But when you have a developer who comes to you ahead of time and said, ‘I am thinking of doing something at this property, please help and give your input on what you want,’ that is completely different than what we have had in the past,” Michaels said.
Simonian’s plan, according to Michaels, is to develop a condominium project where the units are for sale. In the beginning of the discussions with neighbors the developer had included a park that would be open to the public as part of open space. However, after speaking with neighbors who were concerned a park may bring more issues, that plan has been changed to include a park-like area for residents of the condos that is not open to the public.
At present Simonian has applied for permits, including a zone change, which is in review, according to Dennis Joe, Glendale city planner.