Charles Company Presents New Plans… Falling Short of Community Vision.

On December 15th, speaking to a full house of community members at the Altadena Town Council, Gene Detchemendy – representative for the Charles Company – made some promises for improving the Lake/Calaveras property.

Recent view of construction at Lake and Calaveras. (12/20/2015)

Improvements promised to the Lake Avenue facing wall included clear windows – to static displays, not a view into the store – and a door – an emergency exit door.  The developer representative was particularly enthusiastic about changes to the Calaveras side of the building, which will be more pedestrian friendly, he said, with an extended pergola on the building side, with planned landscaping exchanged for hard-scaping, creating more opportunities for sitting along that side of the building. Also mentioned was the addition of trellises and four benches, though it is not clear where those will be. The development company is also recommending a change in color scheme – from pale whites – to richer browns – more in line with the Aldi store color scheme.

Aldi representative, Paul Cornejo, was also in attendance, the strongest guarantee that Aldi will be the store occupying the space – though it sounded as if all terms of Aldi’s lease were not fully decided as of 12/15. Mr. Cornejo also addressed the Council, and talked about jobs in the store: there will be around 20 new jobs, with starting pay at $13/h
our, with earning potential up to $21/hour, with employees guaranteed 35-40 hours week, and guaranteed health benefits.

Mr. Cornejo
also mentioned that Aldi will only occupy around 20,000 square feet in the building, that another 7,000 square feet will be open for another business.  Mr. Detchemendy said they would be seeking a “synergistic” store – such as a pharmacy or bank.  The ad for the commercial space can be seen here:

Altadenans attending seemed glad changes were being considered, but were disappointed that there was no real attempt to create an opening in the building to foot traffic on Lake.  Lin Griffith, NBBA member, addressed the Council and Mr. Detchemendy, saying there were options to create pedestrian-friendly openings without creating a back and front entrance.

“We hope the County and the developer will continue to work with us to find a better solution for Altadena,” Lin said. “We will have to live with this building for decades to come,” she added.


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