Cypress Park storefronts under renovation

Cypress Park storefronts under renovation.

Cypress Park - A small complex of restaurants is in the works for Cypress Avenue - though not without opposition.

The strip of storefronts from 1201 to 1217-1/2 N. Cypress is to have at least three restaurants where it currently has one, according to representatives of the developer. Restaurante Tierra Caliente, already doing business at 1217 N. Cypress Ave., will stay where it is.

But a letter-writing campaign - posted on Facebook - takes exception to the serving of alcohol. The developer, VT 1207, is seeking permission to serve beer and wine at Tierra Caliente and one other restaurant, and hopes to get a full liquor license for the third eatery.

“Restaurants that tend not to serve alcohol are at a disadvantage because locals will not patronize an establishment which lacks something considered a standard,” the developer said in a statement to the city's planning department.

Chris Manasserian of the Gonzalez Law Group, which represents the developer, VT 1207, also told The Eastsider, “The pandemic has been devastating to local businesses, especially restaurants. We need all the tools necessary to allow restaurants to thrive in this new climate.”

A liquor store - Cypress Liquor - has already existed within the property.

The Facebook post - by Ramiro Diaz - says “Someone is trying to open up a brewery in the neighborhood and it just didn’t sit right with me.”

Manasserian says, however, “There are no plans for a brewery or a bar for the property.” Nor is a brewery or bar mentioned, as such, in the planning documents that have been submitted to the city.

The form letter for the letter-writing campaign also pointed out that the restaurants are walking distance from Aragon Avenue Elementary School (about five minutes away on foot), Templo Bethel Assemblies of God church (two minutes away) and Sung Sam Korean Catholic Church (six minutes). Plus, the letter says, what the area really needs is a market.

“Cypress Park residents no longer have a grocery store between Thorpe Avenue and Division Street,” the letter says.

Diaz has been contacted through his Facebook post for further comment.

Regarding the school, a statement from the developer says, “The Proposed Restaurant expects most of its business during dinner time. The nearby school, Aragon Avenue Elementary School operates during the day. The extended hours allow the Proposed Restaurant to operate well after the school is closed.”

Meanwhile, the developers are directing themselves toward a different aspect of the neighborhood - the growing signs of development.

“A new pedestrian bridge that connects Elysian Valley and Cypress Park is in development and is likely to open in early 2021,” the developer’s statement said. “A 42 acre park is also planned in a former Union Pacific railroad maintenance yard approximately 1,000 feet from the Property. With this influx of development and the bridge, the area will need more dining options to accommodate residents and visitors."

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