Downtown disruptions


first_imgThe shortage of pedestrian-drawing businesses prompted city officials to demand a say with developers as to what types of stores are allowed in the Montebello Downtown Plaza to steer the economic direction away from shops like Razo’s. “We won’t try to push people out. That’s not our intention,” said City Administrator Richard Torres. “We want to bring in people who can create some momentum. As it is today, a lot depends on the property owners themselves and the decisions they make as to who they rent to. We can’t say who to let in, but we can help connect them with certain kinds of businesses.” Anita Covian, owner of House of Brides, said she has been at the same corner for 32 years and never had the economic problems she has suffered over the past seven months of construction. “There is no wedding season for me this year,” said Covian, who doesn’t think the new landscaping will make up for her lost business. “We lost a lot of customers and over $70,000. At one point we were down to 30percent of our normal income. “But I’ll give it a chance. It does look okay,” she added. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext.3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“The purpose of the $9million investment (in the street renovations) was to create an ambiance of the traditional downtown `Main Street’ feel,” Molinari said. “The idea is to restore it to somewhat of its original form, a place for the local community to enjoy and relax in.” Molinari said the targeted stretch of Whittier Boulevard – between 4th Street and 10th Street – once housed a large bustling full-service market, complete with a butcher and groceries in the back and a coffee shop in the front. Two movie theaters, an upscale women’s boutique, independent drugstores and numerous restaurants solidified the downtown area as the city’s vital center, he said. “It was the heart of the commercial district,” Molinari recalled. “What happened is the trend evolved into the big regional shopping centers and malls. That brought many downtown `Main Street’ areas down. Our idea is to revitalize our downtown area.” To further centralize the revitalized strip of Whittier Boulevard, a complex of single and mixed-use buildings is under construction at the corner of Montebello Boulevard, behind the Sav-on Drugs. MONTEBELLO – It doesn’t bother bridal shop owner Estela Razo that her business may not ultimately contribute to Montebello’s much-promised revitalization of the Whittier Boulevard corridor. She’s just thankful the wedding season coincided with the end of the city’s major street construction, which had left her entire block dug up for months and her bank account dwindling to nothing as customers sought out more accessible services. “The last few months, when the street was closed, I made zero money – zero,” Razo said. “I had to pay my rent with a credit card. The only good thing was, I didn’t have to pay taxes those months, because no money, no taxes.” Although business is slowly picking up at Razo’s store, Lupita’s Bridal, as well as at the more than half-dozen other bridal shops on the same two blocks, City Councilman Bill Molinari acknowledged that those types of businesses won’t bring people to the area to stroll, hang out and spend their disposable income. last_img

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