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City officials break ground on Newhall parking structure

Members of the Santa Clarita city council, city staff, and local dignitaries break ceremonial ground on Monday, March 6, 2017, at the site of where a new 372-space parking structure will be built in downtown Newhall. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

With gold shovels in hand, members of the Santa Clarita City Council and Planning Commission broke ground on the Old Town Newhall revitalization to begin the construction of the nearly 400 space parking structure on Monday morning.

To an audience of about 60 people, Mayor Smyth said the 372 space structure was both great and badly needed.

“That’s the kind of work, life, play balance we look for,” Smyth said to the crowd about the revitalization.

Jason Crawford, Santa Clarita’s manager of economic development, said the planning commission and community have been working to finalize the plan for the project for about a dozen years.

“We’re thrilled to be breaking ground on parking structure in Old Town Newhall,” Crawford said. “It’s been years and years coming.”

Crawford said the parking structure is anticipated to be completed in about a year.

“2018 is going to be a big year,” he said.

The Laemmle Theatre are scheduled to break ground this summer. Greg Laemmle, the president of Laemmle Theatres, said the start of construction on the parking structure will cause a domino effect for the rest of the revitalization.

“Every project has a series of milestones,” Laemmle said. “Every step that we take in this project is huge. There is a certain momentum. As the dominos fall, there are only so many left until the last one falls and we’re open for business.”

A poster board displays an artist rendering of the Old Town Newhall parking structure. (City of Santa Clarita)

The theater will have seven screens, five of which will be on the second floor, and concessions, a restaurant and an event space. Laemmle said he has heard stories of people who travel upwards of 30 miles to Hollywood to see movies that don’t typically play in other Santa Clarita theaters.

“To have these types of films represented here in Santa Clarita is a great opportunity for the residents of the Santa Clarita Valley and hopefully a wonderful opportunity for us as well,” he said.

Mayor Cameron Smyth, who grew up just over a mile from Old Town Newhall, said the addition of the parking structure will alleviate some of the concerns from residents on the lack of available parking in the area. Smyth said when he was growing up, the area did not have much more than a general store, hardware store and pet store.

“As someone who was born and raised here on Main Street, it’s wonderful to see the transition,” Smyth said. “This is going to be a really big cornerstone of the revitalization of this part of town.”

Smyth said he looks forward to spending time on Main Street with his family and friends. He also said he values the fact that many of the new businesses will be owned by people who live in the valley.

“They’re really investing in the city that they live in,” he said.

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