Property owners aiming to spark business in South Colton

Photo/Anthony Victoria: Linda Perez-Black, her husband Ken Black, and Andres Palacios Sr.
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Linda Perez-Black, Andres Palacios Sr. and Andres Palacios Jr. are confident that discussions with city leaders will lead to the rezoning of a historic business district in South Colton.

The property owners have visions of turning the former 7th Street Market and Martinez Bakery into thriving enterprises that could restore pride in the community.

“There’s a lot of people that are interested in making this a mixed used area with single family homes and businesses,” Perez-Black said. “Things are starting to buzz.”

Currently the area where the two former businesses sit is designated as Single Family Residential. Perez-Black and the Palacios’ aspirations of changing the zoning to Commercial/Single Family Residential (Mixed Use).

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In recent months the City Council has held discussions pertaining to the rezoning of the area–providing their support to the two business owners’ desires.

“We’ve been talking about South Colton a lot now,” said Councilman Dr. Luis Gonzalez. “I just can’t tell you how exciting this is. Now there’s more discussion down there. I want to keep this going.”

Perez-Black, a fourth-generation Colton resident, is the granddaughter of former 7th Street Market owner Yula “Lala” Morales. The Palacios family own the former Martinez Bakery property that sits on 291 South 7th Street.

For over a decade, Perez-Black and the two men have tried to work with the city’s development department to rehabilitate the buildings.

“We’ve been through some ups and downs,” said Perez-Black. “South Colton has a unique set of issues, so before this portion of town wasn’t included in the conversations. We’re glad that now we have a chance to make this a cool place to be.”

City Senior Planner Mario Suarez explained that future development in South Colton will feature more pedestrian friendly features to slow down traffic and encourage more outdoor activity.

“The property owners are very excited that we’re doing that,” he said. “We’re hoping to bring back the old South Colton vibrancy.”

Palacios Jr. praised both Perez-Black and Suarez for their commitment to improving business in South Colton.

“She’s very invested because she’s from here,” said Palacios Jr. “Mario has also played a big part in this. This area could once again become the Broadway of South Colton.”

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