Even though the new 7-Eleven store that recently went up on Glendale Boulevard in Echo Park has shiny new signage and appears (from our observation) about ready to open, it won’t be offering beer and wine in its coolers any time soon.
We recently learned the store’s application for a permit to sell beer and wine for off-site consumption was denied by the city of LA, however a 24-hour operation was approved (in lieu of 7:00 am – 11:00 pm). This is not exactly a surprise as not only was there a large number of opposition letters (including a petition), and the store did not receive the support of the Northeast Police Division Captain.
This may come as a relief to many neighbors concerned with having yet another convenience store (there’s an AM/PM across the street) selling alcohol, however the hours of operation may not quell those concerns. According to comments on the application notice, the store representatives expressed they would not likely pursue opening the store if it was denied the beer and wine permit.
Both the Echo Park Improvement Association and the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council submitted letters of support dependent on certain conditions, including the limitation of store hours, prohibition of single bottle sales, store lighting, security, and more.
We have reached out to 7-Eleven representatives via email, but have yet to hear back.
Despite community opposition to the new 7-Eleven store in a strip mall at Glendale Boulevard and Berkeley Avenue in Echo Park, the store has gone full steam ahead. It’s been under construction for a couple of months now, but the sign went up in the past couple of days. Strangely, we haven’t yet been able to track down any license granted to the location by the California Alcohol Beverage Control, a permit that the store will really need to sell beer and wine off-site. And a 7-Eleven without beer and wine sales wouldn’t be a very attractive opportunity for the brand.
Apparently a lot!
Glendale Boulevard at Berkeley is getting a new 7-11, and a presentation at the last week’s neighborhood council Planning & Land Use Committee revealed plans for another location at Alvarado Street and Beverly Boulevard. The map above is a screenshot of several 7-11 stores in Echo Park and the immediate area, with the purple dots showing locations for the twonew stores.
The Beverly Boulevard and Alvarado Street 7-11 location will be part of a larger demolition and rebuild of a service station at 2041 Beverly Boulevard. It sounds like the state of the existing building is pretty bad, and could use a serious boost. But even committee members at the Planning & Land Use meeting asked if there would be alternative vendors other than 7-11, especially since there’s one on Beverly Boulevard just down the road. A quick search on the franchise’s website for our zip code, and there are at least six 7-11 stores within a two mile radius (not including the new ones).
However, it looks like the deal is done, and the property owners have already negotiated the establishment of a 7-11 store at the revamped location. But permits still need to be granted, and the neighborhood council has asked for hours of beer and wine sales to be reduced just as the Glendale Boulevard location has done.
When we first moved to Echo Park, the only restaurant that would deliver to our sketchy apartment complex was La Pizza Loca. We were a little loca to eat the barely digestible pizza, but was at one point the cheapest meal in town.
This weekend the Glendale Boulevard pizzeria at Berkeley Avenue closed its doors for good – the sign is gone, and some window graphics remain, but a call to the old number and you’ll be redirected to another location.
It’s not the first place to close down in the strip mall – there was once a Cash Express storefront, a flower/bike/tobacco kiosk, and a Dog Grooming business. It might be a sign that the storefronts are being squeezed out as the strip mall prepares for a 7-11 to open up, which was approved last October by the neighborhood council and is undergoing review by the city for a beer and wine license.
The 7-11 plans include making improvements to the whole strip mall (cleaning up the parking lot, removing the old, ugly wall, improving signage), and thus the strip mall owner may be able to ask for higher rent. We’ll see if the Tacos Mexico and the other remaining tenants can stick it out, or if we’re looking at a high-end makeover on Glendale Boulevard and Berkeley.
A lot has happened for Echo Park in 2011… Our personal lives got a bit busier – I got married and had a grand celebration, and have been spending all my free time this year involved in many civic activities. We’re still living in the same spot, for about 6.5 years now, doing laundry across the street from Masa, but we’re hitting up some new watering holes. And that’s the big news for our community – Echo Park became a destination for our libation of choice (if there’s no tequila): Beer! Redefining Echo Park as a beer destination are two new establishments, Mohawk Bend and Sunset Beer Company, along with a slew of new beer/wine permits at existing locations. Xoia and Fix Coffee are the most recent ones, and about to join in on the fun are Red Hill and Cookbook’s new restaurant on the eastern end.
Land-use issues defined a lot of our time spent on civic activities, including the proposed 74-unit complex at the former Echo Park Community Gardens, 7-11 vying for a spot on Glendale Boulevard, and lots of community cleanups. Next year there will be a lot of new places to dine at (Cookbook, Red Hill, a new pizza place, and probably more), and hopefully we’ll get some more food trucks coming through.
And in case you missed it all, here’s a few things to get you updated – our top three posts of 2011 (based on how many times you all visited).
We got the scoop on what (and how many) they officially found at the bottom of the lake after the lake draining and some dredging. So if you were taking bets, they found 20 trash cans, one toilet, and two guns (and no dead bodies, guys).
As much as we want our lake back, the two year rehabilitation project (which started in August 2011) started off with a slew of images from many Echo Park residents. We’ve even got our own webcam of the lake progress, courtesy of a couple of nearby residents and their camera. Unfortunately the article sparked some debate, for a reason we’re not sure about, the comments sparked debate about the whole eastside vs. not eastside, which we won’t touch with a ten foot pole.
The infamous Maria the Goose was moved away from the lake in March 2011 to her new pad at the Los Angeles Zoo. The impending Echo Park Lake rehab project was, at that time, scheduled for that spring (it didn’t end up starting until August). Her bestie, Dominic Elhrer, was on the zoo guest list and was allowed to visit. But of course, once she got to the zoo, the veterinarians discovered she was a HE – and aptly renamed the goose Mario. We’re still partial to Maria…
Last year we made some promises of “Echo Parkian” things to do in 2011. We still haven’t read the Madonnas of Echo Park, but we’ve been reading a lot more after joining a book club. We haven’t climbed all the stairs year either, but got really close during the pre-wedding intense workouts I was doing. We have been doing a lot more farmers’ market shopping, have supported local businesses, and even wrote a lot of articles. We did the most amazing thing ever as an Angeleno and saw the lunar eclipse and sunrise at Griffith Park – that’s going to be hard to top!
For 2012… well, we got a new camera this year, so we will be taking a LOT more photos of Echo Park to document its place in the digital history books. We hope to write more articles on the sister blog, Atwater Village Now. We’d still love to have some more writers contribute to the website, so if you’re looking for an excuse to get out there in Echo Park and write about something or someone, do it! There’s no better way to get to know your community better!
A lot of people keep asking about advertising on Echo Park Now, and I’ll just say it’s not looking like that’s going to happen any time soon, but you’ll be the first to know if we do!
And finally, we’d like to wish everyone a wonderful new year. May 2012 be the best year yet!
Happy New Year!
The Echo Park Improvement Association is holding itss regularly scheduled Neighborhood Issues Committee meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, December 21). The agenda includes a presentation by representatives from 7-11, who were also present at the last committee meeting. They’ll likely be addressing the same concerns by the neighborhood, including parking, the beer and wine permit, and traffic, among other issues.
With an approval by the neighborhood council, and the corporation’s willingness to work with neighborhood organizations means our magic ball predicts 7-11 will get the space. We’ll see what happens with the vote by the city after the start of the new year.
Also on the agenda are the developers from the Morton Village project, which has been left uncompleted for quite some time now.
Echo Park Improvement Association Neighborhood Issues Committee meeting
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Williams Hall, Barlow Hospital, 2000 Stadium Way
We’ve been following a story for quite some time now about a proposed 7-11 for the vacant storefront on the corner of Glendale Boulevard and Berkeley Avenue. The chain has been eyeing the space since the start of this year, having also applied for a license for the sale of beer and wine for the new store.
The possibility of the new 7-11 has raised many concern amongst residents. In addition to its close proximity to other existing convenience stores (just across the street is an AM/PM), a 7-11 already existing in Echo Park, and the sale of beer and wine (always a controversy), the space itself is a challenge. There are few parking spaces available, and the intersection is a disaster – with traffic consistently backed up on Berkeley as it is, a high-traffic store could contribute to the current traffic headaches of nearby residents.
Despite some pretty vocal opposition by residents, the Greater Elysian Echo Park Neighborhood Council (GEPENC) approved the 7-11 in late October (with conditions), but only serves as an advisory position to the city’s planning department. A recent zoning hearing with the city was postponed, but will be rescheduled likely for February of 2012.
The representatives of 7-11 seem optimistic and pretty open to neighborhood concerns – at last night’s neighborhood issues committee meeting of the Echo Park Improvement Association, representatives spoke about working with the current landlord on signage and lighting issues, and are in the process of developing design concepts that meet our concerns, amongst other issues. They’ve also limited the hours of beer and wine sales, along with banning the sale of single bottles and cans (also a condition recommended by GEPENC). Additionally, they’ll be cleaning up the parking lot, hoping to remove the unsightly brick wall, repainting/repaving the parking lot, and improving signage.
Which brings to mind: Also unfolding are the issues with the lot as a whole. This year the little flower/bike/tobacco kiosk was dismantled, the salon disappeared, and it looks like La Pizza Loca and the flower shop are vacating (no word on if it’s by choice) by the end of this month. The fate of the Tacos Mexico restaurant is also uncertain – and even the 7-11 reps admitted at last night’s meeting the strip mall is about 60% vacant. We’re a little worried that these places are being squeezed out because 7-11 is planning on making improvements (that little flower shop is amazing), and any new applicants will likely be paying much higher rents.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for that next zoning meeting with the city in early 2012. Otherwise, our crystal ball says 7-11 will likely be a new neighbor on Glendale Boulevard.
Fix Coffee owner Marc Gallucci hopes to turn his thriving Echo Park coffee shop, Fix Coffee, into a place for a little nightlife as well – he applied this year for a Conditional Use Permit for the sale of beer and wine inside the cafe as well as outside on the 450 square foot patio. The application is up for review at City Hall early next month.
The notice provides the hours during which he will serve alcohol, which is limits sales from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm weekdays, and 10:00 am – 10:00 pm on weekends. This might be helpful for direct neighbors, who have raised concerns that the quiet streets of that residential area will be interrupted with loud bar noises. Add additional stress on already limited parking, and the elementary school directly across the street, there are reasonable concerns. But not all residents are opposed, as we mentioned in a previous article about the issue on Echo Park Now. In a previous article publish by The Eastsider LA, resident Susan Borden is quoted as saying:
This is the first step in turning our neighborhood from a residential one into a commercial one. When he moved in three years ago Marc Galucci (FIX owner) could see that this is a residential not a commercial neighborhood. He wants to change it. All along Echo Park Avenue businesses will try to get alcohol licenses and bring the club-goers up from Sunset. Some people will enjoy that—they are [usually] the ones who are not adjacent to the businesses and don’t have to deal with the noise and trash. Most of us like the non-commercial nature of our canyon.
Like it or not, the hearing is set for Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 10:30 am at City Hall. Click here for the public notice PDF. If you support or don’t support the application and would like your opinion on public record, contact Christine Saponara at Christine.Saponara@lAcity.org and reference case number ZA-2011-2029(CUB).
Additionally, the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council is also expected to take a vote on whether or not to support the application by Fix at tonight’s Planning, Public Works, Parks and Land Use Committee meeting. In addition to Fix, GEPENC is discussing and/or taking action on conditional use permit applications from other Echo Park restaurants, including Xoia, a proposed 7-11 store on Glendale Blvd, as well as the new Echo Park Blvd. restaurant Red Hill. Click here for the PDF agenda for tonight’s meeting.
If you’re intersted in attending the Neighborhood Council meeting tonight, it takes place at 6:30 pm at the St. Paul Cathedral Center, located at 840 N. Echo Park Avenue.
Since Sunset Junction will no longer function this weekend, it became clear yesterday that Echo Park would be absorbing some of the acts meant for the weekend-long festival. Silver Lake residents and business owners have also organized the No Function Junction in the area where the festival would have taken place, and now the Echo Park organizers have a name for our very own Sunset Junction replacement – Echo Park Rising.
From Saturday, August 27 through Sunday, August 28, Echo Park businesses and venues will host many of the performers (some we are sad won’t be booked, like Ozomatli). According to the website, Echo Park Rising is “weekend long festival celebrating life, art, music and culture. Located in Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood, EPR brings together local businesses on and around Sunset Blvd, creating an open environment for the enjoyment of live music, independent art, local cuisine and all around good times.”
The Eastsider LA posted a great summary of what performers are going where this weekend, the following is a list of Echo Park venues:
Click here for the full list.
Additionally, restaurants and other businesses are contributing with some great deals:
Driving on Glendale Blvd. and Berkeley Avenue today, I noticed a crew taking down the flower shop/cigarette shack/bike repair/party rental kiosk thing in the parking lot. It’s a bit of a strange little building and has undergone quite a few… evolutions over the years. Word has it, there’s a 7-11 moving in the shopping center (which will be discussed at the next Echo Park Improvement Association meeting on March 3). Perhaps they are making room to accommodate more parking needs for the chain.