ARCHITECTURE AND PRESERVATION NEWS for the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee (ModCom) and other Mid Century Modern, Googie, International, Art Deco, 20th Century design
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The former Safeway Market (1968) at 17380 Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades is one of the most intact examples of the Marina Model in Los Angeles County. The variant used for this location features an expanded roofline that extends beyond the trademark central arch to form upswept curves.
This particularly flamboyant and intact example of the Marina model is now threatened with a remodel that will "comprehensively change the look and feel of the store" as reported in the Palisadian Post. The 10-week remodel is planned to start in March. There will be opportunities for public comment.
Vons Market at Sunset/PCH to Undergo Major Remodel
By Sue Pascoe, Staff Writer
Vons Supermarket, located on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway, will undergo a 10-week remodel starting in March if all goes as planned.
'The remodel is a significant investment,' said Carlos Illingworth, Vons' manager of public affairs and government relations. 'It will comprehensively change the look and feel of store.'
Management has not yet decided whether the store will be closed during eight weeks of interior construction. The multi-million dollar remodel also includes updating the electrical and air conditioning systems and adding new landscaping and blacktop.
'A new state-of-the-art refrigeration system will also be installed that significantly improves energy efficiency,' Illingworth said, noting that Vons is a 'zero waste' company.
The loading dock will be moved from its current location on the south side of the building to the opposite side of the store. Illingworth explained, 'We're trying to deter loitering and vagrancy, clean up the site for customers, and give a nice appearance along the scenic highway.'
In its place, a Starbucks will be located on the southwest corner, allowing coffee drinkers a view of the ocean from a newly constructed two-level patio. To patronize Starbucks, customers will have to enter through Vons and will not be able to exit from the patio to the parking lot.
Although the footprint of the building will stay the same, rearranging the interior space will increase the sales-floor size to 24,542 square feet (about half the size of a prototypical Vons).
Restriping of the parking lot will increase spaces from 98 to 104. Vons has done a study that showed their customers and employees only use about half the spaces. Beach goers, commuters and others utilize the remainder of the stalls.
Nearby resident Carol Bruch has raised safety concerns about the proposed location of the loading dock, which will require trucks to enter the lot off Sunset instead of PCH. Once on the lot, they will have to back up and turn across a second parking lot aisle, in order to access the loading dock.
Bruch wonders, 'How will customers driving into the parking lot from Sunset, directly behind delivery trucks, be stopped to permit the reverse maneuver directly in their path? And how will Vons protect patrons and their children who will be walking and unloading groceries into their cars in this major portion of the lot?'
Bruch told the Palisadian-Post she also worries about the traffic on Sunset with customers making left-hand turns into the Vons parking lot, while large trucks and vendor trucks are making left-hand turns at the same location to get out of the parking lot.
'To the best of my knowledge, no proposal yet addresses either Vons' plan for traffic within its lot or the implications for traffic on Sunset,' Bruch said. 'A driver making the turn into the lot could suddenly be stopped dead because a large truck is stopped or reversing in front of them. It might also endanger other drivers who suddenly find themselves stopped across the lanes of Sunset as they are turning into Vons behind the first car.'
Said Illingworth, 'A traffic study for this project is not required and trucks already use Sunset for access.' When asked how many large trucks come to a store on a daily basis, he said he didn't know. 'Truck deliveries are scheduled on an as-needed basis. Once product is low, we schedule a delivery.'
A presentation of the new plan will be made to the Palisades Design Review Board on January 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Chamber of Commerce office on Antioch, and the following night to the Community Council when it meets at 7 p.m. at the Palisades Branch Library.
The store opened as a Safeway in January 1969 and became a Vons in April 1989.
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