Holt Boulevard build-out in Ontario a long-term plan


Construction continues on a new discount store at the corner of Bon View Avenue and Holt Boulevard on Monday in Ontario. City officials are hoping current construction could spark future development.

One of many vacant lots along Holt Boulevard. A 13,000-square-foot Dollar General and a new automotive facility are the projects being worked on in the area right now

ONTARIO >> As city officials put it, east Holt Boulevard is the gateway to some of its major economic engines – LA/Ontario International Airport and the Ontario Convention Center.

The road begins as Holt Avenue in western Pomona and ends as Holt Boulevard in Ontario. Despite being the only major east-west corridor in the northern part of the city, the eastern part of it is littered with fenced-up, weed-filled vacant dirt lots.

City officials are hoping a 13,000-square-foot Dollar General store and a new automotive facility could be the genesis of future development of these unoccupied properties.


“Success breeds success. When (investors) start building, others are likely to do the same. No one wants to be the first.” said Otto Kroutil, the city’s development director.

The portion of the road is mainly filled with older buildings, some dilapidated, operating a range of businesses from thrift stores, restaurants to industrial.

If the dirt lots were bought up and transformed into industrial and commercial development, it could mean an economic impact in the multi-millions, said economist John Husing.


“At this point, given the economy we’re in, it is going to be a while before we see some fundamental changes,” he said.

It will also require a general recovery in the economy which will then create demand for development. Secondly, Husing said, things will only get better if ownership of ONT is transferred to local control. The medium-hub facility has lost a severe amount of its passenger traffic from since the economic recession. Husing said the drop in airport activity is hurting the prospect of potential development.


Historically, Holt was a major highway from Los Angeles to the east but it was cut off by the 10 Freeway in the 1950s when it was extended through the Inland Valley. Over the years, officials in Ontario have been attempting to change the landscape of the development from the street’s smaller lots into larger developments.

Ontario’s former Redevelopment Agency - which was dissolved by state mandate - had planned to remove some of the blight along the road by purchasing those properties, said John Andrews, economic development director.


Holt between Euclid and Vineyard avenues was in the agency’s Center City Project Area, he said.

In the past, agencies could make it more economically feasible for a developer by providing assistance for things such as public improvements, Andrews said. Property is now sold at fair market value, and the city can’t provide any assistance, he said.

Several parcels along Holt are narrow, which can pose a challenge in sparking interest in the area. The Redevelopment Agency recognized the challenge and years ago began acquiring the properties, almost 10 lots, Andrews said.


The agency “was able to acquire parcels to assemble into a development pattern. You’ve got individual parcels, many of which are thin, narrow and deep. RDA was a tool to assemble and consolidate – the two under construction now were individual parcels that were assembled,” Andrews said.

With the dissolution of the agency, Ontario is in the process of developing a long-range property plan to sell off the land, Andrews said.

Ultimately, the city would want developers to acquire the land who are committed in carrying out projects in line with vision of city leaders, Andrews said.


“But you don’t have a tool in your tool box to assemble this irregular development,” he added. For all of its challenges, there are some recent bright spots.

In 2012, the City Council sold a 1.23-acre site on the southeast corner of Holt and Euclid Avenue to a developer who has already started construction on a three-story office building, he said.

At the southwest corner of Holt and Bon View Avenue, the Dollar General store is set to open in the next couple of weeks. The 2.16-acre Suppose-U-Drive Truck leasing business along 1010 E. Holt Blvd. is almost operational.


And although it wasn’t a vacant lot, the former Smart and Final building, just across the street from the discount store is being converted into an O’Reily Auto Parts store.

“We have an uptick throughout the city for both and planning and the building department,” Kroutil said.

Raul Ledesma, who owns Raul’s Auto Trim right next to the future discount store, said he welcomes the new development.

“I’m very optimistic,” he said. “The new business coming in means it will generate a lot more traffic to the area.”

Since 1974, Ledesma’s family has owned the auto shop, barbershop salon, thrift store and as well as paint and mechanic body shop. He is second generation to maintain the property, which takes up almost half the city block.

The family also owns commercial property in Rancho Cucamonga but said the Ontario lot is their “little gold mine.”

Ledesma said it is because it is on Holt, one of the major traveled thoroughfares in the city, and because it is centrally located in the region. The Rancho Cucamonga properties tend to be too inaccessible from freeways.

Ontario officials are hoping developers have the same perspective.

“Clearly it’s an area that requires attention,” Kroutil said. “We have a lot of issues to resolve, but it’s up to the private sector to resolve it.”

Source: http://www.dailybulletin.com/government ... -term-plan


Liset covers the city of Ontario. Reach the author at%3Ea%2F%3C6000ps4000pssrepapswendnalni1000pszeuqraM4000pstesiL%3E%22zeuqraM%20tesiL%20liaM-E%22%3Deltit%20%22%3Btuo-esae%20s14000ps0%203000psnoitisnart-tikbew-%20%3Btuo-esae%20s14000ps0%203000psnoitisnart%20%3Benon%203000psnoitaroced-txet%20%3B%29471%20%2C021%20%2C28%28bgr%203000psroloc%20%3Bxp3182837604402464000ps22%203000psthgieh-enil%20%3Bxp899749203636364000ps31%203000psezis-tnof%22%3Delyts%20%226000ps4000pssrepapswendnalni1000pszeuqraM4000pstesiL3000psot2000ps%22%3Dferh%20a%3C or follow Liset on Twitter: @DBOntarioNow.