The letters dripping blood should be coming down soon. Just weeks after the city completed its last installment of the $113,000 in redevelopment funds for Main Street's new "casual steak house" Medium Rare, a banner went up stating "FOR SALE / FULLY EQUIPPED RESTAURANT / RECENTLY REMODELED, HIGH CEILINGS."
Medium Rare remains on the city's list of "completed redevelopment projects." But despite the city's assistance in renovation, the manager said the business was "underfinanced," and that it became clear to the restaurateurs that it "wasn't going to improve."
At a City Council meeting on Monday night, City Manager Julio Fuentes said the city would still benefit from the expenditure. "The investment was in the materials and in the things that went into building more so than to the restaurant," he said. "So the work that was completed still remains with the building and can still be used by another perspective tenant."
Fuentes also said that other businesses were currently interested in purchasing the space, including another steakhouse. "What we try to do is avoid a lot of duplication in terms of restaurants," he said. "There's just so many things and so many customers, that if you get too many restaurants that duplicate uses, essentially it hurts the restaurants that are already here."
Support was provided to Medium Rare, and to the previous restaurant in the location, Bistro 39, via the Alhambra Redevelopment Agency which was recently disbanded along with more than 400 others in the state because the governor believed those funds should be reallocated to public services. But city officials created a successor agency which preserved much of redevelopent's functions, which in the past were responsible for bringing in a long list of national retailers including Starbucks, LA Fitness, Toys R’ Us, Costco, Taco Bell, Kohl’s, Volkswagen. Support has ranged from $136,000 to Starbucks in the 1990s, to $1.2 million to create the Renaissance Plaza at Garfield and Main, to free rent to Subway in exchange for renovations. Smaller restaurants and bars such as Havana House or 38 Degrees were among other recipients, as was the Lizard Theater and housing developments.