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Planning Commission to consider a commercial condominium development on East Main Street

Satellite image of 801 E. Main St. via Google Maps.


Alhambra , CA United States

East Main Street in Alhambra could become home to a 45-unit commercial condominium development, when the Planning Commission votes on whether to grant a permit for the project during its Monday evening meeting.

The application, which was filed by James Chou of Pacific Main Tower LLC, will go before a new Planning Commission president, Allan Sanchez, who most recently served as Planning Commission vice president. Suzi Dunkel-Soto is now the Planning Commission’s vice president.

If approved, the four-story development will take up 89,818 square feet at 801 E. Main St between Cordova Street and Granada Avenue, according to a city staff report. It will consist of seven parcels, which will be converted into two lots. One lot will be 59,818 square feet and include a surface parking lot and a three-story parking garage, which would altogether provide 290 parking spaces, six more than the 284 spaces required for this project.

The other lot will be 30,000 square feet and contain the four-story 45-unit commercial condominium building. This building will allow a pharmacy, retail space and restaurants on the first floor, medical offices on the second and third floor and offices on the fourth floor. Unit sizes range from 905 square feet to 2,784 square feet. Each unit will be for individual sale, with owners allowed to buy multiple neighboring units to consolidate office space. Individual owners will control common areas and any established ownership associations.

That area is zoned as East Main Commercial. The site was once developed in conjunction with a car dealership, but now sits empty. Because of that, this development is considered an infill development, or a developed piece of land that is empty or underused. Infill developments are exempt from environmental review requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act if they’re smaller than five acres, are consistent with current zoning designations, are surrounded by urban uses, can be served by existing utilities and public services and won’t result in significant environmental or traffic impacts. The City of Alhambra did require the developer to conduct a traffic impact analysis, which was drafted by the Ganddini Group and approved by the city’s traffic engineer. The analysis found that this new project would not create additional traffic that would need mitigation or canceling out.

The project went before Alhambra’s Design Review Board on July 10, 2018. The applicant presented a modern design using materials including stucco, tile, concrete and a metal canopy, in contrast to the older commercial styles of the surrounding buildings. The project meets all design standards such as minimum setback from the street, building height and distance between buildings. However, the project’s landscape area will exceed the maximum allowed in the East Main Commercial zone, at 10,237 square feet as opposed to the allowed 9,385 square feet. To account for the larger area, the Design Review Board approved this development on the condition that the applicant present documents complying with landscaping water efficiency standards set by the state of California and the City of Alhambra.

Planning staff is recommending that the Planning Commission approve this development, pending their own conditions of approval. The City Council would have to approve a final tract map of the project site as well.

The Planning Commission will also consider Norman Chang’s application to build a four-story, 37-unit mixed-use condominium complex on 123 S. Chapel Ave, located at the northwest corner of Chapel Avenue and East Bay State Street. The building will have a floor area of 59,380 square feet, with the ground floor containing 3,212 square feet of office space and 2,099 square feet of residential amenities. There will be two parking levels integrated into the building above the ground floor and then 37 condo units on the second, third and fourth floor, totaling 47,788 square feet of living area. The site will also have a 8,402 square-foot courtyard above the parking and a 1,741 square-foot rooftop terrace accessible from the third floor.

The project is located in the city’s Central Business District – Downtown Revitalization District. The Planning Commission would need to approve three permits for this project, for residential development, a commercial planned development permit and a conditional use permit to allow the building to be mixed use. Conditional use permits for residential uses in the central business area are allowed if combined with commercial uses. The project is exempt from CEQA environmental review standards as an infill development. Currently a one-story 4,650 square-foot office building occupies that site. A city-required traffic study determined that the project would not result in significant traffic impact requiring mitigation.

This project was approved by the Design Review Board on July 10, 2018, with a contemporary architectural style using stucco, brick veneer and some metal detailing. It meets every design standard required in the Downtown Revitalization District zone. The City Council will have to approve a final tract map if the Planning Commission allows the project to go forward.

The Planning Commission will also consider an application to build a real estate office in a commercial building that has been unoccupied for more than six months on 3027 to 3031 W. Valley Blvd. The commission will also consider a one-year extension for a commercial planned development permit and a conditional use permit to demolish a three-story office building and build a five-story, 134 room hotel in its place at 2224 W. Commonwealth Ave. The hotel will be 76,373 square feet and include meeting space, a lounge with outdoor seating, a cafe with outdoor seating and a three-level parking structure. If approved, the permit would be good until July 2, 2020, rather than July 2, 2019. A one-year permit for this project was granted on July 2, 2018.

Read the Planning Commission meeting agenda here.

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