Editor's note: This is Amy Senk's last Corona del Mar Today column in the Daily Pilot. She has been a wonderful contributor over the last two years. We are sad to see such a fantastic journalist leave the Daily Pilot due to budget constraints, but please continue to read and support her important work at coronadelmartoday.com.
A Port Theater representative asked the Corona del Mar Business Improvement District board last week if it would agree to remove an orchid tree that blocks the theater's electronic marquee.
"The tree completely blocks half of our marquee so traffic going north on PCH can't see what's going on," said Jessica Prause, a theater representative. "We spent a lot of money and time revitalizing the theater, making it look nice. We're happy to pay the costs of moving it. We just need permission."
The city's Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission had advised the theater's owner that the BID group would need to OK the request before going forward, Prause said.
Scott Palmer, the BID's administrator, expressed concern that several other businesses had also requested removal of trees that block signs and that granting the Port's request would "open a real can of worms of people saying, 'You did it for the Port; you should do it for me.'"
Newport Beach City Councilman Ed Selich suggested the tree be moved to another location and replaced with a mature king palm with a trunk that rose above the marquee so fronds wouldn't block it.
The orchid tree could be moved to a tree well in front of Zinc Cafe & Market, the group decided.
B. Candy opens bigger store
Ten weeks after closing a smaller shop down the street, B. Candy opened Tuesday at 3100 E. Coast Hwy., selling house-made baked goods and ice creams, gifts and, of course, candy.
"I love these chocolates," said the first customer, 3-year-old Ryder Thomas, who bounced from pumpkins to lollipops to birthday candles to Spiderman candies.
"He's been dying for this to open," said his father, Ramsey Thomas. "He's been peeking under the tarps, looking at the cupcake. When he saw they were unveiled, he literally ran in. We'll be spending some time here for sure."
Owner Brandy Valdez said that opening a candy store had been a childhood dream, and when her youngest son was in kindergarten, he spurred her to begin making it real. In April 2011, a small shop opened at 3617 E. Coast Hwy., but there was no room for an ice cream soda fountain or for an in-house bakery.
The new shop is four times bigger and includes exterior cupcakes, gum balls and lollipop decorations that were custom made in Temecula, Valdez said. Inside, cupcake stools line the counter, and inset into the floor are custom tiles from Italy, shaped like colorful candies filled with liquids that move when you step on them.
Items on display include bacon toothpaste, Halloween hot chocolate (colored blood red), pillows shaped like cupcakes and doughnuts, and a wall of dispensers filled with gum balls, gummy candies, chocolates and more.
A grand opening party is scheduled for Nov. 3.
Pedestrian bridge construction to close San Miguel Drive
Construction of a pedestrian bridge across San Miguel Drive will close lanes of the street below beginning in early November, according to a city memo.
The curbside lane and the left-turn lanes adjacent to the median in each direction between Avocado Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard will be closed from Nov. 5 through 9 while crews construct temporary midspan support structures, according to the city. When bridge pieces arrive to the site, all of San Miguel Drive will be closed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. weeknights from Nov. 13 to Feb. 8, the memo states. The roadway will be open from Nov. 21 through 25 over the Thanksgiving holiday and from Dec. 20 to Jan. 14 over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The new Civic Center along Avocado Avenue is expected to be open for the December City Council meeting, although more work will have to be completed before city employees move from the existing City Hall complex on Newport Boulevard.
Bakery could take over psychic and Republican headquarters
A Los Angeles-area bakery famous for creating cakes for Ellen DeGeneres' wedding and Jennifer Aniston's 40th birthday could open in Corona del Mar in the former John Blom photography studio space.
According to a Newport Beach community development memo, the city is reviewing a minor use permit to convert the 1,660-square-foot retail space to a bakery.
"The proposed bakery would seat a maximum of 36 customers in the interior public area of 280 square feet and an outdoor dining area of 70 square feet," the memo states. The bakery would be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Sweet Lady Jane has locations in West Hollywood and Santa Monica. Owner Jane Lockhart has not returned several calls seeking information about a Corona del Mar location.
The space at 3732 E. Coast Hwy. is rented to a psychic shop and the Republican Party headquarters.
The property owner, Bryan Seigel, has said those leases are month-to-month and that he planned to rent to a longterm client that would appeal to Corona del Mar residents.