The Press

Bell council tentatively approves development plan

BELL — The City Council approved a disposition and development agreement on Feb. 8 to build a restaurant and retail commercial center on the southwest corner of Atlantic and Gage avenues, a major intersection in the city.

The Arroyo Seco Development Group is spearheading the $2.23 million project that is gaining ground after months of slow progress. Arroyo Seco is the second developer to sign on to the project after the initial developer withdrew.

An Arroyo Seco representative presented three possible plans under consideration during a public hearing conducted on the project. The layout and design options depend on the developer’s ability to obtain control over several privately owned businesses in the project area, specifically Yoli’s Flowers and the Guadalajara Inn restaurant.

Currently, the 1.57-acre site consists of those two businesses, a Western Auto retail store and surface parking.

According to Steve Boss, founder and principal of Arroyo Seco Development, the commercial center area, once finalized, is expected to cover an area between 12,000 and 15,000 square feet.

If Arroyo Seco and the private business owners can’t come to an agreement, the commercial center would be built around the two businesses and would consist of about 42 percent commercial space and 77 percent restaurant space. A large site or reduced site alternative would be implemented if all or part of the private parcels are secured.

Among the tenants being considered for the commercial center are Chipotle, Pizza Studio, Pieology, Jimmy John’s, Subway, Moe’s Southwestern Grill, Flame Broiler, the Habit Burger Grill, Fatburger and AT&T Electronics or Wireless and a Sprint Store for retail.

The City Council also discussed the process of authorizing tenants not currently on the pre-approved list, and passed a motion to change the process of approval. Rather than the proposed tenants going through the city manager for acceptance, the tenant approval will now go directly to the city council.

The City Council also authorized the city manager and city attorney to approve the agreement in its final form.

“Our approach to these types of projects is to be team members, and so we want to make sure that we bring a product that people in the community want,” Boss said. “We’re not trying to bring in our idea of the project in place. It’s something we want the community to be proud of and enjoy.”

Bell resident Marcos Oliva spoke when the public hearing was opened for questions, requesting background information on Boss, the number of completed projects by the developer and the process of approving tenants.

At the close of the hearing, Councilman Nestor Enrique Valencia thanked Boss and the Arroyo Seco developers for their patience in moving the project forward.

“Thank you for hanging in there with us,” he said. “I know it’s been a long process and I, for one, would like to see this project move forward, and to gather more cooperation … and direct it to you guys so as to lure and encourage more interest in this project.”

“This is really exciting,” Councilwoman Ana Maria Quintana said. “This is one of the first projects that the city of Bell is going to have up and running in the last 10 years.”