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    From Blight To Burgers

    A bulldozer finishes tearing down a dilapidated and abandoned fire station at 1925 N. Riverside Ave. It will now begin a project to upgrade infrastructure on the property, to make it suitable for new development. The City will soon also build a new fire station. Photo by Chris Sloan

    The City of Rialto has torn down a dilapidated and abandoned fire station at 1925 N. Riverside Ave. It will now begin a project to upgrade infrastructure on the property, to make it suitable for new development. The City will soon also build a new fire station. Photo by Chris Sloan

    (RIALTO, Calif.) An abandoned fire station has given way to what is expected to soon become a hub of restaurants, starting when In-N-Out Burger opens a new location on Riverside Avenue near the 210 Freeway in Rialto.

    In-N-Out Burger has already committed to establishing a restaurant at 1925 N. Riverside Ave. Local developer Fernando Acosta is working to bring in two more restaurants. “Three new restaurants off the freeway at Riverside Avenue will bring economic benefit to the City of Rialto, from the sales the restaurants make, from the enhanced value of the property, and from the jobs many young people will have working in these restaurants” said Mayor Grace Vargas. “In-N-Out Burger by itself will create about 60 new jobs.”
    “They also make Rialto a better place to live, by giving our residents more options for casual dining,” Vargas said.

    “Taking abandoned properties, which are considered blighted, and turning them into something that benefits a city is the key purpose of redevelopment agencies,” Redevelopment Agency Director Robb Steel said. “Without our help, private development of this highly valuable property would have been unlikely for the foreseeable future.”

    “The abandoned building is too close to the freeway to be used safely as a fire station,” Steel said. “The property around the fire station was actually three parcels that had been cut up by the freeway onramp and the reconfiguration of Highland Avenue.”

    “No one could use this location without the major infrastructure upgrades taking place, Steel continued. “This property was too valuable to the city to let it simply go to waste. That’s why the Rialto Redevelopment Agency is making the investment to transform this into a useable location.”

    “After we moved forward with our plans to develop this property, In-N-Out Burger committed to coming here. Since then, other restaurants have contacted the Redevelopment Agency to express their interest in doing business at the same location,” Steel said.

    The City of Rialto Redevelopment Agency is investing about $2.4 million in the project. It has already purchased some of the property adjacent to the fire station from the California Department of Transportation. It then demolished the fire station, and will upgrade infrastructure in the area. The Redevelopment Agency also must relocate a cell tower and utility lines, and install a traffic signal at the property’s parking lot entrance.

    To make the property useable again, the Redevelopment Agency had to create a single lot out of the three separate, unusable parcels. Another necessity is to relocate underground utility lines, which had been put in without consideration for future development. And, so that passenger vehicles may access these restaurants in a safe way, a traffic signal must be installed for this project.

    “Because of these challenges, this project faced greater expense than normally would be required of a retail project,” Vargas said. “This project must bear the entire cost for public improvements that would normally be borne by a much larger geographic area.”

    “Just because this location needed a lot of financial help, doesn’t mean we won’t help other businesses as well,” Steel noted. “For as long as we have a Redevelopment Agency, Rialto will help small businesses who are already here upgrade, expand or relocate within the city, and we will bring new businesses in, which will increase our economic well-being.”

    “We have already provided help to many small businesses, both in downtown Rialto and along Foothill Boulevard, which were seeking to acquire or rehabilitate commercial structures,” Steel added. “Two examples are Coffee Nutz and Johnson’s Hardware.”

    In-N-Out Burger restaurant’s property transformation is one of several projects the Rialto Redevelopment Agency is currently funding. Others include:

    § $30 million to widen the Riverside Avenue interchange at Interstate 10. This project will reduce congestion and improve economic development opportunities at this intersection.
    § $15 million to extend Pepper Avenue to the 210 Freeway, opening up 175 acres for future economic development.

    § $5.8 million to replace the fire station that was at 1925 N. Rialto Ave. The new fire station will have modern features, allowing firefighters and paramedics to better serve Rialto residents.
    § $7 million to improve Fergusson Park, including creating two new football fields.
    § $2 million for construction of 75 units of senior housing on Foothill Boulevard at Cactus Avenue.
    § $1 million to expand the Rialto Library and add a new computer lab.

    “The Rialto Redevelopment Agency has an aggressive program to reshape the community and help both businesses and residents,” Steel said.

    For more information about how the Rialto Redevelopment Agency can help a business to upgrade, expand or relocate within the city, contact Robb Steel at (909) 879-1140 or (909) 879-1149.

    About Rialto
    Although the City of Rialto is located in the middle of one of the nation’s fastest growing regions, it has retained a small town atmosphere and similar quality of life. Rialto is an ethnically diverse and progressive community, which boasts several unique community assets including its own police and fire departments, a city-owned fitness center, performing arts theater, nine beautiful parks, a community center and senior center. Rialto is near mountains, beaches, deserts and other recreational areas.

    Rialto’s housing mix and home costs are some of the most affordable in the southern California region. First-time homebuyers find Rialto more affordable than almost any other comparable community in the region. Executives and those seeking high-end homes also find they can purchase much more home for their money in Rialto. This lower cost translates into more discretionary income for residents, thus benefiting retailers and service providers.

    For more information about Rialto, go to www.ci.rialto.ca <http://www.ci.rialto.ca> or call (909) 820-2525.


    Media:  If you would like any of the photos in the slide show below please send an email to Chris@DameronCommunications.com with the photo id number and I will have it to you within 24 hours.  If you require the photo sooner please call Chris Sloan at (909) 888-0017.

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