The construction across the street from GCC’s Cimmarusti Science Center is developing buildings that will soon house new dining establishments, including a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Quizno’s Subs.
Armen Khatchaturian, 37, a representative of Turian Properties, has confirmed that the lot, located at 1500 Canada Blvd., is being developed by Turian Properties into restaurants and other businesses. “It will be a food court type area,” said Khatchaturian.
A Coffee Bean and Quizno’s Subs will definitely be opened at the location, but Turian Properties is still negotiating possible leasing for three of the five units being constructed on the site. Khatchaturian has said however that a cellular store and “a Panda Express-like restaurant,” are almost certain to be included in the prospective shopping center.
GCC administrators at one time considered the lot, which has been under construction since September, for purchase as a possible parking site.
“The owner asked us if we wanted to buy the property,” said Larry Serot, Glendale College’s executive vice president of administrative services. “We said sure… at the time we estimated that it could hold around 80 parking spaces.” However college officials ultimately decided not to purchase the property. “The owner wanted about twice what we were willing to pay,” said Serot.
These new businesses will not contribute to the college’s parking problems. There will in fact be 28 new parking spaces built to accompany the franchises developed there. Still, these spots, like the parking lots of all businesses near and around the college, will be reserved for customers and employees.
While parking remains an issue for Glendale College students, many of them are glad to hear that the new restaurants are being built. “It might create more jobs for students,” said Pat Bonner, 30, an alcohol and drug studies major. Bonner is certain he will eat off-campus more frequently once the businesses are opened.
Public relations major Nathalie Sahakian, 21, agreed that she would also eat off-campus more often because “it’s more variety… and it’s close.”
Candice Walker, Glendale College’s manager of cafeteria food services, is not worried about losing business to the restaurants. “When McDonalds came it didn’t affect us much, and we all thought that it was going to.” “We’ve been spoiled,” said Walker, “all the other colleges have faced competition like this… competition is a good thing.”
Café Vaquero Supervisor Mathew Ramirez, 29, is also optimistic. “They’re welcome to try and compete with us,” he said.
Ramirez believes the Café Vaquero, located in front of GCC’s San Rafael building, will continue to thrive regardless of the new Coffee Bean scheduled to open across the street from campus. “Students… would rather come somewhere convenient than walk all the way across the bridge to another shop,” he said.
Despite the overall positive attitude on campus, a concern has been expressed that the new businesses will cause an increase in traffic.
“When we had the gas station there it had some traffic impact,” says Nidal Kobaissi, a police specialist with the Glendale College Police Department. “During the peak hours of the school [noon to 2 p.m.], it is probably going to cause some traffic,” he said.
Still, Kobaissi does not believe the impact will be too drastic. “That place is banking on having students walk across the bridge,” he said.
However some students do not use the bridge to cross North Verdugo road and get to the businesses and bus stops that surround the site. “A jaywalking hazard is going to be there forever,” Kobaissi said, “the footbridge is not as easy to access as just walking across.” However Kobaissi did point out that he could not recall a pedestrian involved auto accident occurring in that area of North Verdugo road since he began working at GCC.
Although recent rains have delayed construction of the businesses, Khatchaturian says to “expect the grand opening… sometime in the summer.” He believes the businesses will be very successful, and hopes that they are a welcome addition to fellow neighbors.