The November issue of The Voice newspaper reports that many El Sereno residents were let down by a plan to renovate the box-like Food-4-Less market in the 4900 block of Huntington Drive. Company officials presented their plans during a community meeting in late October for an approximately $5 million project that would bring a new deli, butcher services and other improvements to the store interior. But what about the outside? Some residents were disappointed that the project, which would be financed with the help of city agencies, did not call for creating an entrance and more welcoming facade facing Huntington Drive, which has been the object of city efforts to revitalize El Sereno’s main commercial strip. The Voice writes:
“The original store, prior to the Food-4-Less conversion, once had an opening along Huntington Drive. After the conversion, the existing Food-4-Less building turns its back to the heart of the neighborhood … This design threatens public safety as vagrant elements use the store’s poor lighting and lack of security to conduct quality of life crimes with an easy get away … The lack of a visible front entry on Huntington Drive limits pedestrian activity that could potentially support more customers from El Sereno and other communities, as well as other retail activities along the corridor.”
Company officials, who said their plans had been presented to the office of Councilman Jose Huizar months ago without complaint, at first said creating a more inviting facade “may not be feasible.” However, officials backed off that statement and said they might have time consider alternatives.