It has taken 15 years and more than just a village to finally break ground for Rubio Village, the newest development in San Gabriel.
By Cheryl Cabot
Completion of construction of Rubio Village, named after Rubio Wash intersecting the property, is projected for Fall 2021. According to San Gabriel Mayor Jason Pu, the City Council has approved the excavation permit and the plan to dig the two-level underground parking structure, which will begin in September. When excavation is complete, it is expected that the building permit for everything above ground will be approved and construction will continue.
Rubio Village will include approximately 16,500 sq. ft. of commercial space at the street level. Above that will be 159 residential units, three of which will be townhomes and 12 of which will be dedicated to affordable housing for moderate-income households.
Adele Chang, Rubio Village architect, said:
I think the number one amenity is really the industrial orientation of the project and the numerous shops and restaurants that will be available on the ground floor, so residents can just come downstairs and have all that available to them,
Other amenities include plazas based on San Gabriel Boulevard and fountains, a public garden, a large central courtyard for the residents with a pool, jacuzzi and BBQ area and a playground. Additional units and retail on the other side of Rubio Wash will utilize the entire 2.9 acres of land. There will be two bridges across the Wash so that both sides are woven together.
“It hasn’t been easy working with the Wash,” Chang continued, “L.A. County is trying to improve it so there are different heights that we have to deal with in getting utilities and everything back and forth across the Wash. The logistics are challenging.”
“Challenging,” is a thread that runs through comments about Rubio Wash and construction of Rubio Village, and it is one of the reasons development has taken so long.
Mayor Pu said”
This is a challenging site, with the Wash running down the middle of it and, frankly, the empty buildings here were a blight. The bowling alley has been closed for over 20 years now, and this project has been about 15 years in the making. Not only that, the empty buildings were a public safety concern, so having a project here will be a big improvement.
For years Los Angeles County Public Works (Public Works) on behalf of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District (District) has been working with the City of San Gabriel and the developer, Rubio Village LLC, to improve Rubio Wash and help facilitate the development. Steve Frasher, from L.A. County’s Community and Public Relations office, described some of the issues that required “a great deal of collaborative discussion.” Rubio Wash bisects the development site, but it is an undersized channel requiring upgrading to improve flood protection to the site. The location and condition of the channel also creates some challenges for site development and wash improvements. The proposed pedestrian bridges must meet particular heights and standards. A Flood Control permit is required prior to construction within a District right-of-way, and the development went through concept changes and changes in ownership over the course of the District permit review process.
Frasher reported that in April 2019 LA Public Works facilitated the permit process by coordinating with the developer to issue the grading permit that allowed the first phase of the project to begin. “The site construction phasing will also require coordination, to ensure the District is able to improve the channel, prior to initiating the final construction phase of the development. Public Works looks forward to continued collaboration with both the City of San Gabriel and developer.”
Plans for another development across the street
According to Mayor Pu, it is anticipated that the plans for another development across the street from Rubio Village will come before the City Council before the end of the year.
“What we would like to see,” Pu said, “is an active, lively area that is pedestrian friendly with a lot of shops and restaurants for the community to enjoy in this part of town. It is a good time for the City, and we are making a lot of progress. We are working hard to be smart and balanced and making sure we get the kind of businesses the community wants and needs.”
The groundbreaking ceremony took place on Wednesday, August 7, at the site of the multi-use development at 210-217 South San Gabriel Boulevard, San Gabriel. On hand for the ceremony were Alex Wang, President of Panku, Inc. development company, architect Adele Chang, and City, County and State dignitaries.
[This article has been updated with few minor corrections and the groundbreaking photo op, August 18, 2019, 2:20 pm]
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