The COVID-19 pandemic has halted multiple aspects of everyday life, but construction in Santa Clarita has slowly but surely continued, bringing various projects from the blueprint stages to vertical construction.
New restaurants, entertainment and community destinations and housing are some of the many amenities that are part of the city’s current 2020 plan, which wraps up this year as officials prepare its next five-year plan, according to City Manager Ken Striplin.
“Santa Clarita is known throughout California for being a city that offers its residents an exceptional quality of life,” he said in a statement. “Since incorporation of the areas of Canyon Country, Newhall, Saugus and Valencia, which formed the city of Santa Clarita in 1987, our City Council has laid the groundwork for the safe, vibrant and fiscally sound city we live in today.”
Amid the coronavirus crisis, a handful of major developments are near completion or are complete and ready to welcome residents but are awaiting direction from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for appropriate openings.
Laemmle Theatre Newhall
Among those waiting for a green light from the county is the two-story, seven-screen art house Laemmle Theatre on Lyons Avenue in Old Town Newhall.
The 17,600-square-foot building, which broke ground in October 2018, will be able to seat 500 guests or 45 to 150 per screen and offer additional public art space.
The site joins a family-owned chain with eight other locations across the region and is working on final steps toward “getting final sign off,” according to Greg Laemmle, president of the business.
“Because of the public health mandates, we still would not be allowed to show movies,” he said.
That’s due to L.A. County’s current stance in California’s four-tiered blueprint toward reopening, which is currently on the most restrictive level. When the county moves into a less restrictive tier, based on improving case and positivity rates, Public Health officials will be allowed to determine if and when moviegoing can resume.
As of the end of September, county officials had not indicated when indoor movie theaters could reopen but the Newhall location itself has come a long way despite the previous speculation that the company would be sold.
“But even before (reopenings resume), once we have final sign off, we hope to open our doors for Popcorn Pop-Up takeout concession sales on occasion,” said Laemmle. “And we are also working with our neighbors at Newhall Crossings to see about scheduling outdoor screenings in the courtyard.
Adjacent to the Laemmle Theatre is the newly completed Newhall Crossings, a mixed-use site with 20,000-square-feet of retail space and nearly 50 residential units and subterranean parking.
The residential units are now 80% leased and approximately 70% of the commercial area is leased, with three retail suites currently available, according to Jason Crawford, planning and economic development manager with the city.
Confirmed tenants vary from food to health and fitness options, said Matthew Paul, a residential leasing agent and who is part of the ownership with Newhall Crossing.
Some of the upcoming shops include The Loaf Japanese Bakery and Café, with handmade options that feature distinctly Japanese flavor; Pops Artisanal Creamery, a family-owned and all-natural ice cream shop; Rustic Burger House, the family-owned artisan burger business that will expand from its Valencia location; Maginn’s Irish Pub, with a small-town pub feel and Glasshouse LA, a dance studio with various dance and fitness classes.
Although expected to open this summer, Paul said the pandemic has slowed down plans but businesses are expected to open around the holiday season. Before then, however, residents will have a chance to enjoy outdoor movies via projected showings, from movies to sports, in the public plaza space shared with Laemmle Theatre.
The new Sheriff’s Station
The buildout of the new 45,000-square-foot Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station has also come a long way and, with continued work throughout the pandemic, the project is now in the onsite construction stages.
Located on a 7.6-acre city-owned property on Golden Valley Road between Centre Pointe and Robert C. Lee parkways, the site will offer a detention facility, a 4,165-square-foot vehicle maintenance building, communications tower and a helipad.
Residents might have noticed that offsite improvements on Golden Valley Road, as well as utilities to the site, such as a new storm drain line, have been completed, according to city Communications Manager Carrie Lujan.
“The current phase of development is onsite construction,” she said. “Roofing for the main station and vehicle maintenance building is now complete in addition to the communications tower and perimeter site walls. Ongoing construction activities will include work on building interiors, helipad, fueling area, and canopy structures.”
The site is expected to be turned over to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department in the first half of 2021, Lujan added.