Boyle Heights to Get Major Shop Center : Plaza del Sol Will Have Added Function as Tourist Attraction

A new specialty shopping center is not particularly newsworthy in most parts of Los Angeles: In Boyle Heights it is.

When the $7-million, 80,000-square-foot Plaza del Sol opens next fall at 1241 S. Soto St.--just north of the Sears store at Olympic Boulevard and Soto Street--it will be the biggest and best shopping area in this predominantly Latino part of the city, according to Steaven Jones of Steaven Jones Development Co., co-developer with McNeill Enterprises. The McNeill firm developed the Sherman Oaks Galleria shopping mall.

"The ambiance will be somewhere between the Ports O' Call Village (a waterfront specialty center in San Pedro) and Olvera Street," he said. "It will be a tourist attraction as well as a place to shop."

Elevated Parking Facility Hill Pinckert Architects of Irvine created a Mexican-style design reminiscent of Plaza del Sol in Guadalajara, Mexico, he said. The two-story, air-conditioned mall will feature interior dining courts, second-story skylights, landscaped walkways, escalators and elevators. There will be elevated, secure parking for 200 cars on the site.

Barrio Planners, East Los Angeles, is the interior designer. Oltmans Construction Co., Monterey Park, is the builder, and the leasing agent is the Legaspi Co.

The project is being built on the site of the old Arrow Chevrolet dealership, Jones said. The area is home to several strip shopping centers, as well as Safeway, Sav-On, McDonald's and Payless Shoes--all centering on a Sears store that has done a "huge volume of sales in that location for more than 40 years," he added.

Jones said that more than 1 million people live within a five-mile radius of Plaza del Sol, a location enhanced by being close to the junction of the Santa Ana, Santa Monica, Pomona and Golden State freeways. He added that the site on Soto between Olympic and the Pomona Freeway will be visible to 50,000 cars a day.

"We feel that it's time to rebuild the inner-city areas, and by taking an abandoned auto dealership and turning it into a nifty shopping center, we are not only making a good business deal, but also enhancing and embellishing the community," Jones said.

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