Verdugo Boulevard project breaks ground

Formerly the site of a shuttered Texaco station, a hillside lot at the corner of Verdugo Boulevard and Hilldale Drive in La Cañada Flintridge has begun a long-awaited transformation into a 9,230 square-foot restaurant and retail complex.

Construction crews were at work this week pouring 70-foot concrete pilings into the ground as supports for the single-story structure and a multi-level parking area below it.

The new building’s design and appearance will resemble that of the Vons shopping center next door, and the property will be accessible from entrances on Verdugo and through the shopping center, said Dave Maron, an agent with Stevenson Real Estate.

Both the Vons complex and the former Texaco site at 1975 Verdugo Blvd. have been owned for many years by Burbank-based real estate firm Jackbilt. Jackbilt hired Stevenson Real Estate to handle leasing of the new property, which includes a roughly 4,000-square-foot restaurant space and three retail units between 1,412 and 1,965 square-feet in size.

“It’s going to be beautiful. We have a number of restaurants looking at [the property],” said Maron.

Possible restaurant tenants include locations for popular sit-down and family-themed chains, he said, and completion of the project is expected this autumn.

Members of the La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission approved redevelopment of the hillside lot in April 2008, but the project was held up over complications that included working around a large drainage pipe that runs under the property, said city Senior Planner Fred Buss.

After the newly-poured concrete pilings harden, workers will strip away dirt to complete retaining walls by spraying shotcrete onto metal rebar, said Deputy Inspector Ron Rake, who was on-site to oversee the concrete work.

Because the hillside lot is elevated above the Vons shopping center, drivers who arrive through the Verdugo entrance will approach the new building at ground-level while those who enter through the shopping center would be heading up into its below-grade parking area.

Stevenson Real Estate is advertising leasing rates for the new building at $3.25 per square-foot per month. Retail lease rates along Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada Flintridge tend to average around $3 per square foot monthly, according to LCF Chamber of Commerce President Pat Anderson.

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