On Thursday January 18, at 6:30pm, the City of Rialto hosted a Retail Development Community Workshop at the Grace Vargas Senior Center. The purpose of the workshop was to bring Rialto City officials and residents together to discuss the current and ongoing development of the proposed 15-acre project on the west side of Riverside Avenue between the old Walmart building and the new Rialto Marketplace center in the south side of Rialto.
Several artist renditions of the new development, called the Renaissance, were placed for perusal for those who attended the meeting. Representatives of NewMark Merrill, the developer working with the City of Rialto officials acted as greeters and explained various aspects of the planned development.
John Dutrey, City of Rialto Project Manager, explained that the mayor and city council had asked from the very beginning of the Renaissance development that the planners and developers work closely with Rialto residents.
“We have the same developer that did the Rialto Marketplace and the Super Walmart center. Right now, we’re working on concepts and facilities and we’re making sure that those closely meet the city residents’ interests,” Dutrey said.
Dutrey opened the meeting with a general explanation of the City’s intention for the evening and gave a short video presentation of some of the planned expansion for the new Marketplace Proposed Phase II retail development.
Afterwards, Dutrey introduced several Rialto Commissioners who attended the meeting and pointed out other city officials including Mayor Deborah Robertson, Councilmen Rafael Trujillo and Joe Baca Jr. He also introduced the NewMark Merrill development team, Brad Pearl, Executive Vice President of Leasing and Marketing, who talked about the Rialto Marketplace (Phase I) which is now 100% leased and how it has become a very successful venue for the City.
Sandy Sigal, President and CEO of NewMark Merrill, discussed some of the planned retailers and sit-down restaurants that were being discussed for the new area. He opened his discussion up to questions from those in attendance.
Several individuals asked questions about particular stores and entertainment venues that might be considered. While some people were concerned about sustaining such growth over a slow economy, Sigal responded with the goals and intentions of his development firm.
“We are not a developer that comes in and builds and then leaves. We build to own for long term, sustainable growth in the cities we invest in,” Sigal shared. “We’ve demonstrated the success of the first phase of this project and that we are looking for the correct tenants for the venture. Our goal is to draw people from other communities by attracting high quality retailers and venues to be part of a long-term successful development.”
Residents discussed the poll on the Rialto Network’s Facebook page, asking if the City and NewMark Merrill were really paying attention to it. Sigal responded by showing a list of the top twenty requests that had been made by residents for the new development. The top three desired retailers were Target, Costco and Trader Joes.
“Renaissance will be a jewel for the City. We will encourage the continuation of higher end retailers, as we market for what the community is all about,” Sigal stated. “We want to increase the value of the neighborhood, raise the beauty of the facility and contribute in a good way to the city and the residents.”
Mayor Deborah Robertson spoke to the group saying that she appreciated everyone coming to the meeting that evening. “It is important that (the developers) hear from you, to know what you want, so we can have what reflects our community.”
The many residents in attendance were very positive about this interaction with the City and developers, and were happy to have been given the opportunity for input to the plans that will be a major change to the landscape of south Rialto.