The Fullerton City Council approved a motion to sell city property near the Fox Theater to begin construction of a new dining and shopping center.
On Tuesday, Nov. 15, the council voted unanimously to authorize the City Manager’s office to execute a disposition and development agreement with Frontier Real Estate Investments. This agreement would begin construction on three lots within the Fox Theater block on Harbor Boulevard. The center will accommodate new restaurants and a full production brewery featuring a tasting bar counter.
The first lot, named the Triangle Parcel, sits on Ellis Place and Harbor Boulevard. The second lot is Angelo’s and Vinci’s Ristorante, located at 550 N Harbor and the third is a parking lot at the corner of Pomona and Chapman.
The expected revenue of all three of these lots is almost $2.3 million.
In addition to this agreement, the city council voted to abandon a portion of Ellis Place to help connect two lots and create a drive-in roundabout for the new dining center. It will no longer be a drive-through street once construction begins and will only be accessible on Pomona Avenue.
The development of a parking structure was also approved on the Pomona and Chapman lot.
In an item by the Redevelopment Agency that was earmarked in 1991, the city set aside $6 million of its own money to construct a parking structure that will serve the Fox Theater and other nearby businesses if the developer operates and maintains the site.
“I’m very excited about this project coming to Fullerton. I think it is going to do a lot to activate this portion of Harbor Boulevard. I think it will be a great setting for our community to make memories for years to come,” said council member Nick Dunlap.
During the public comment section of the meeting, residents said that the land used for this project should go toward affordable housing.
"We have lots of restaurants, we have a brewery, but what we don’t have is housing in our community,” a Fullerton resident said.
Residents were also concerned that the new center would not match the aesthetic of Fullerton’s historic downtown area, instead creating a more urban feeling.
Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Whitaker said while he would like to see a coherent aesthetic, most developers appeal to a younger audience. He said this takes priority when considering customer frequency and traction.
Council member Ahmad Zahra said he is confident that the developers will blend the aesthetic with the Fox Theatre in a way that enhances the look of Fullerton’s downtown.
Another attraction in the shopping center will be the reopening of the Fox Theater, which has been closed since 1987. The theater is set to reopen May 28, 2025, marking its 100th anniversary since its opening.
Earlier last month, the Fox Theater’s neighbor and Fullerton restaurant, Angelo’s and Vinci’s Ristorante, said it would be closing its doors for good and selling its building to Frontier Real Estate Investment.
The restaurant opened its café in 1971 and its dine-in experience in 1992.
Construction on these lots could start sometime next year and take up to 17 months.
“The important thing is that that corner is re-energized, that it becomes a destination and that people gather there,” Whitaker said.