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You ask, we answer: What's going on at Hellman and Fremont?*

QUESTION: I noticed that the empty buildings at the northeast corner of Hellman and Fremont were demolished this morning. Any idea what the city has planned for that location? A new gas station or mini-mart would be ideal. – Steven L., Aug. 5, 2013 via email

ANSWER: A new storage facility is going up on the southeast corner of Hellman and Fremont avenues, according to Alhambra Director of Development Services Tara Schultz.

While the city did not comment on which company will occupy the location, representatives from U.S. Storage Center — a public storage company with 25 units in Southern California — presented to Alhambra City Council in November 2011 their design for a four-story self-storage facility near the 2500 block of Hellman AvenueCouncil members expressed reservation about the project during a January 2012 meeting, arguing the design did not complement the residential character of the area. The issue was last discussed during a March 2012 meeting, during which City Council approved an ordinance to reduce the self-storage project to 121,707 square feet and three stories with a basement from its original size of 131,594 square feet and four stories. The design remained the same.

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the buildings on the northeast corner of Hellman and Fremont avenues were demolished and that the last time the project was discussed was in January. We apologize for the errors.

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6 thoughts on “You ask, we answer: What's going on at Hellman and Fremont?*”

  1. To Alfred Dicioco (Alhambra Source) – I also have been watching this US Storage development and the last discussion I read was on the Alhambra City Council Agenda on March 11, 2013 (not on January 2012). It is on line item 13 which states:

    “Staff requests that the City Council consider second reading and adoption of an ordinance to modify the adopted 2500 West Hellman Ave Specific Plan. The proposed amendment would reduce the size of an approved self-storage project from 131, 594 square feet and four stories to a total of 121, 707 square feet with three stories and a basement. The architectural elevation and design will remain the same as originally approved, but the project height will be reduced by one story.”

    To Linda Trevillian – You were more than welcome to attend city council meetings and bring this issue up. No one was left in the dark as this has been in discussion for quite some time now (more than a year and a half). The concerns of the city council you bring up were indeed discussed and addressed. If you can’t attend meetings, you can easily watch them online at the city website, which I do myself every now and then. You can also write (or email) the city council to address your concerns. This storage project was delayed because the actual renderings of the building were not of the aesthetic design qualities presented to the council during its previous initial presentation. Other issues were also contributing factors. If you had watched the meeting (or read the agenda) you can see that the developer is working with the city on making changes. In addition, you must also understand that this land was owned by a family trust. The sellers worked very hard and made the decision to sell this. This project will provide much more utility of space than having it abandoned with dirt like it has been for years. It went down from 4 stories to 3 stories now, but I remember reading that a basement level would be included. I understand your point about the building layout and orientation to the freeway and school, but I also hope you understand that solutions require understanding zoning regulations, Fire Dept. requirements, design criteria & costs, etc. The less you are aware of these things the more easy it is to point out there is a lack of transparency. One last thing, if you really want to know more what’s being built around your neighborhood and the city in general, go the city website and read the Design Review Board and Planning Commission Agendas. The information there really shows the growth of our dynamic city and some of the finer details of each project currently at work. Don’t just go off one source, read several of them to get the bigger picture. Also, you need to communicate with your council members to not only hear their story, but to understand the context of the issue as it relates to our city in general.

    1. Hi John — thank you for the correction. I've included it in the story.

  2. I read the minutes of the January 12, 2012 city council meeting and cannot understand how or why this project has been allowed to move forward with out council approval. All of the concerns that were stated at that council meeting are valid. It is my neighborhood, and I’m not happy about the fact that we’ve apparently been left in the dark. Was there ever an open meeting at which residents could comment and ask questions? Do we even know which company was awarded the contract? Is it too late to demand some changes? Particularly offensive (in my opinion) is the idea that the front of the facility will face the freeway (and undoubtedly be hidden behind a concrete block wall), and the back will face Hellman Avenue and Fremont Elementary School. The lack of transparency is appalling!

  3. Fremont School is still standing. The SOUTHEAST corner buildings were demolished.

    1. Hi Maria — thank you for catching that. I've made the correction.

  4. While on the topic of demolition, there has been a large amount of demolition on Fremont, adjacent to the Kohl’s shopping center. What business/organization, etc did those buildings house and what will go in its place? The buildings torn down looked very old.