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Eager for Joe’s lease

City Council will vote next week on lease for Trader Joe’s on public lot.

May 19, 2010|By Melanie Hicken

CITY HALL — City officials paved the way Tuesday for a new Trader Joe’s on Honolulu Avenue in Montrose, agreeing in principle to lease city-owned property to the popular grocer.

Under the proposed lease agreement, the chain would build a 14,670-square-foot single-story store at 2448-2468 Honolulu Ave.

While the lease requires a council vote next week, City Council members indicated they planned to approve the agreement.

Under the proposal, the city would receive $220,000 annually starting next summer.

“It’s great to have a new neighbor coming into town,” said Mayor Ara Najarian.

The proposed lease would close to two years of talks between the city and Trader Joe’s, which already has stores in Glendale and La Crescenta.


“I am very excited about this evening finally arriving for this council so we get the opportunity to formally get the ball rolling,” said Councilman John Drayman.

The site at Honolulu and Orangedale avenues was previously home to a Ford dealership, but has been used in recent years as a public parking lot across from the Montrose branch library and fire station.

Drayman in 2007 first proposed using the lot, originally slated for a new library and fire station, to host a new retail tenant.

Plans for the new library were then shifted to the former Rockhaven sanitarium and the fire station’s expansion at its current location. Both projects await funding.

Proponents say the store will serve as a “retail anchor” for the west end of the Montrose Shopping Park, which has historically struggled to draw foot traffic.

“It will be great for the area up there,” said Councilman Dave Weaver. “It’s really, really needed, so I am fully in support.”

Though no members of the public spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, the project has generated community support and excitement since it was first made public last year.

The only significant public opposition to the project has come from Gus Malouf, the owner of Cordon’s Ranch Market, who did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.

If approved, the project would then be subject to, among other things, design review and a conditional-use permit to sell beer, wine and spirits.

Store officials expect a nine- to 12-month construction period once building permits are obtained, according to a city report.

The store would be the first Trader Joe’s location in Southern California to attempt to receive certification of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, a national rating system administered by the U.S. Building Council, city officials said.

Traders Joe’s officials said they have solicited community input on the store’s design.

“We really think it’s going to be a beautiful store,” said Douglas Yokomizo, vice president of real estate for Trader Joe’s. “We really think its going to be part of that community.”

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