By KELLY ERICKSON
ECHO PARK — The final touches are being made, and in a few weeks the construction fence will be removed to fully reveal the retail and restaurant center known as Mohawk Collective. The tenants include major chains — Chipotle, Starbucks and The Habit Burger Grill — and outposts of a Venice yoga studio, a Pasadena ice cream store and a vegan cinnamon roll franchise. But what’s missing from the tenant roster so far are local independent businesses.
“We are not a community that cherishes chain stores,” said resident Annie Sperling during a Wednesday night community meeting devoted to the complex on Sunset Boulevard.
Citing the displacement of long-term businesses throughout Echo Park, and particularly along Sunset, many of the public comments revolved around the concern over the types of businesses being leased space in the property. Sperling later offered the representatives of Continental Development Group a list of local businesses that she thought should be offered a lease at Mohawk Collective.
A representative for the developer said the firm had talked to “many local tenants.” When asked whether the developer is offering incentives to attract independent businesses, the developer’s representative said they are “still in discussions to motivate local businesses.”
Stretching along Sunset east of Mohawk Street, the buildings (formerly occupied by Lucy’s coin-laundry, Wells Tile & Antiques and other businesses) that make up Mohawk Collective will house about 15 tenants. Currently only a handful of tenants have signed leases in the former Lucy’s building, including Starbucks (which wants to serve beer and wine), Chipotle, Habit Burger, Bengees Ice Cream, Cinnaholic and LoveYoga. There will also be the return of a Wells Fargo ATM on location.
Continental Development is seeking a conditional permit from the city that would allow for a full line of alcoholic beverages for eight restaurants; beer and wine for five restaurants, and off-site sales of a full line of alcoholic beverages for two retails spaces.
The application also requests extending operating hours beyond current regulations, asking instead for opening hours of 5:00 am daily, and closing hours of 11:00 pm Sunday through Thursday, 1:00 am Fridays and Saturdays.
Of the current tenants, Starbucks, Chipotle and Habit Burger plan on applying for beer and alcohol licenses, and will be required to apply for their own and go through the process of getting neighborhood input prior to city approval.
After hearing from the developer and residents, the Echo Park Neighborhood Council’s Planning & Land Use Committee voted in favor of the Continental’s application with conditions, which includes limiting the closing hours of operation, recommends three on-site security guards, and limiting the sales of alcohol to a start time of 4 pm on weekdays and 10 am on weekends.
Tenants are already starting to work on their own spaces, and plan to stagger the openings of the businesses.
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