Redlands food hall project gains support of city’s historic preservation commission – Redlands Daily Facts
The Redlands food hall project has won the support of the city’s commission on historic buildings.
The Historic and Scenic Preservation Commission is recommending the City Council approve plans by Pomona-based Arteco Partners Inc. to transform a historic packing house in downtown into a modern food hall, with micro restaurants, outdoor dining experiences and historic elements.
The commission also recommends the council approve a historic resource designation for the property, known as the Mutual Orange Distributors, or MOD, packinghouse at 330 N. Third St. near Studio Movie Grill and a future stop of the Metrolink and Arrow rail service.
“I think this area is going to be one of the most exciting transit-oriented developments in Southern California,” Jerry Tessier, Arteco Partners president, told the commission at its meeting Thursday, March 1.
“We’re happy to be in the middle of it and at the beginning of it,” he said.
Commissioner Nathan Gonzales, historian and head archivist at the A.K. Smiley Public Library, pointed out that the packing house has been inaccurately called the MOD for years. When moving forward with the historic designation, Gonzales said, the building should be called the Mutual Orange Co. or the Redlands Mutual Orange Association.
“Now’s the time to correct the historical error as we move forward,” Gonzales said.
The packing house was formerly owned by the city’s now-defunct redevelopment agency. Rather than hold a traditional sale of the property, the city requested proposals from interested buyers.
City leaders ultimately selected Arteco Partners, which specializes in the adaptive re-use of historic buildings. Their work includes the Pomona Packing Plant, Pomona Fox Theater and Claremont Packing House.
The firm is working on the Riverside Food Lab in downtown Riverside, which is expected to open in about 60 days, Tessier said.
The Redlands food hall, which has not yet been named, will offer a common dining space indoors and outdoor dining, with an educational garden, a living green wall and murals recognizing the city’s citrus history. Diners will be able to eat and drink inside a renovated 1904 trolley in the outdoor patio. The trolley has already made it to the property, Tessier told the commission.
“We love creating modern things out of salvaged materials and things that have historic reference, such as taking old smudge pots and making a fire and fountain feature out of it,” Tessier said, adding that the company has also salvaged two trolley doors believed to be from a trolley barn in Redlands.
When visitors enter through the main entrance at the corner of Third Street and Shoppers Lane, they will walk up a wooden staircase to a boardwalk. A 35-foot-tall non-functioning water tower will serve as an entry monument.
Commissioner Shan McNaughton said while he generally liked the project, the addition of the water tower is not in the spirit of historic preservation.
“The only problem I still have is with the introduction of this water tower element, which I’m trying to reconcile with the existing building and the fact that it never existed there before is somewhat of a problem with me,” he said.
Tessier said the water tower is not attached to the building. The plans will also be reviewed by the Secretary of Interior, a federal agency that sets standards for historic properties, which may request changes to the project’s design, including the water tower.