Bellflower takes steps to assist local businesses

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Wave Staff Report

BELLFLOWER — The City Council Oct. 26 approved a loan to operators of the Golden Corral Buffet and Grill, 17308 Bellflower Blvd., to obtain a license to sell alcoholic beverages with meals and construct a patio.

The council also approved actions giving added time for developers to come up with plans to develop two city-owned sites — the former Bank of the West lot on Alondra Boulevard at Bellflower Boulevard; and the former Andy’s Nursery site, located along the San Gabriel River at Riverview Park, 10510 Somerset Blvd.

In a report to the council, Jim DellaLonga, the city’s director of economic development, said the loan of $3,500 to $5,000 would be part of an agreement with Golden Flower, Inc., doing business as Golden Corral Buffet and Grill, for restaurant upgrades and for alcohol service in accordance with the city’s Economic Development Business Assistance Plan.

“The plan pays for city fees and staff time to process an application to modify a conditional use permit for alcohol service.

“A second part of the plan would allow Golden Flower to receive a forgivable loan to construct an outdoor patio to be used for food and alcohol service.

The loan requires a matching contribution from the business owners and adherence to plan guidelines, DellaLonga said.

Reviewing the history of the business assistance plan, DellaLonga said it was approved in 2017 and established policies and procedures for the Economic Development Business Assistance.

“The plan provides various forms of financial assistance to business and/or property owners to attract and retain business, thereby promoting the economic development of the city,” he said.

The forgivable loan is amortized over five years and is 100% forgivable at the end of that term, provided the restaurant remains in business and has not been sold.

In the event of a default, the applicant must immediately repay the remaining balance of the amortized portion of the loan, DellaLonga said.

He noted that Ehsan Shakibaie submitted applications for the loans on behalf of Golden Flower on Oct. 12.

“The restaurant’s application included a business plan, financial records, a certification of job creation, and a commitment to cross promote the city of Bellflower in its marketing efforts,” DellaLonga said.

Proposed by restaurant owners, besides a patio, are significant dining room improvements, exterior lighting, security lighting and flooring.

“After reviewing the applications, staff determined there is a significant need to improve the marketability of the property, which would help support economic growth of the downtown and encourage safe dining during the COVID-19 pandemic.” DellaLonga concluded.

The owners anticipate completing the project in the first half of 2021, he added.

Concerning the two proposed developments, DellaLonga said in a report to the council that the city recently has entered into an agreement with High Cube Homes, to develop the city-owned former Andy’s Nursery site.

He said the purpose of this agreement is to provide time for the company to submit various funding applications for potential development

“High Cube Homes will have nine months to investigate and submit funding applications to various funding sources for a potential development.

The city manager is authorized to approve a six-month extension to the agreement, if needed, DellaLonga added.

The city also entered into an agreement with Gardening at Nite to develop a viable development plan for the city-owned former Bank of the West site.

Gardening at Nite will have six months to prepare and submit the development plan to the city with the city manager again authorized to approve a six-month extension.