Rendering of renovated former Big Saver shopper center in Cypress Park

CYPRESS PARK -- The owners of the nearly empty shopping center that once housed a Big Saver market have revealed more details about the makeover they have for the shabby-looking property. But there’s still no word on what new tenants may move in.

The proposed new look has met with a mixed reaction. But many residents remain primarily concerned about the new tenants that will move into the property on Figueroa Street near West Avenue 26.

“We’re just afraid of them not paying attention to the neighborhood,” said Alfred Beltran, vice-chair of the Greater Cypress Park Neighborhood Council (GCPNC). “When restaurants open up offering $12 hamburgers, that’s hard to accept,”

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The renderings presented by developer Steve Boss, founder of Arroyo Seco Development Group, and leasing agent Timothy Genske at a neighborhood council meeting show there won’t be much in the way of major structural changes. Instead, renovations include extensive interior work, such as a new electrical and air and heating systems. On the outside, the company plans to repaint the center, add new canopies and outdoor seating, update the parking lot and remove the red mansard roof that wraps around the building.

According to the current plan, the remodeling will be finished by early 2020.

“We do understand and appreciate residents taking interest in their community and it was good to meet with some of the people at the meeting,” said Boss. “We want to make it a place that people can walk, ride their bike or drive to and be able to stay for a while. We plan to have some outside seating for the planned new restaurants too.”

Some at the meeting and online appeared to be a bit underwhelmed by what the developer has in mind. After the neighborhood council posted the renderings on Facebook, one commenter said the entire center, which some have called an eyesore, should be demolished.

“This looks like the same ugly building with new paint,” said one person.

While the response to the plans and renderings were mixed, some residents and officials said the developer’s presentation was a step forward and the start of a conversation.

There wasn’t much to talk, however, about potential new tenants. They’ve only signed a lease with Yum Yum Donuts—which will be expanding.

Despite approaching “everyone,” Genskeat, the leasing agent, said he still doesn’t know who will takeover the former Big Saver, which was the neighborhood’s only large grocery store.

What’s moving in has been a topic of great interest among residents as well as a source of contention amid concerns about gentrification.

Clint Birdsong, chair of the GCPNC, says his neighbors just want the work to be done quickly and want to see the right tenants move in. He personally believes the area needs some basic services like a grocery store with quality produce at low prices.

“It would be great if this space could be a place where the whole community comes to shop and socialize.”

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