Category: Commercial

What’s up with all that construction? Here are 10 projects in the works

February 12, 2018 07:30 AM

Updated February 12, 2018 07:30 AM

PG&E launches electric vehicle charging network with 7,500 stations


PG&E on Wednesday launched a new network for charging electric vehicles, a web of green energy that will eventually include 7,500 charging stations.

Condominiums, apartment buildings and workplaces throughout PG&E’s service territory in northern and central California are among the types of locations planned for the EV-charging stations.

Over the first three months of 2018, PG&E will install new electric vehicle charging sites through partnerships with business customers. Merced College, the first participating customer, was among the first round of installations.

The $130 million program will extend over three years and end in 2020, PG&E said.

All hosts of the EV-charging sites will be allowed to own the vehicle-charging equipment, PG&E said.

San Francisco-based PG&E will be allowed to own 35 percent of the charging stations installed over the three years, which would be up to 2,625 out of the 7,500.

“We have just installed chargers at our first customer site, which is the Los Banos campus of Merced College,” said Ari Vanrenen, a PG&E spokeswoman.

PG&E installed six chargers at the campus on Wednesday. Each charging station can accommodate two vehicles at the same time. Merced College has decided to own the first six chargers.

Equipment for this program includes what are known as Level 2 chargers.

“Level 2 charges a vehicle in four to six hours,” Vanrenen said.

In January 2017, PG&E proposed a $253 million plan to expand use of electric vehicles in California in a quest for cleaner air, but customers would be forced to pay more in monthly power bills to bankroll the company’s project.

The proposal’s elements include helping ease the process of conversions to electric vehicles of existing large- and medium-sized vehicles now running on diesel or gasoline, and expanding deployment of fast-charging electric vehicle stations that power up electric cars in roughly 25 minutes.

But that plan would come with a cost: Monthly power bills would rise an average of 28 cents a month for residential customers of PG&E, Vanrenen estimated at the time.

An expansion of PG&E’s initial efforts is already in the works through a series of pilot programs, Max Baumhefner, a San Francisco-based official with the National Resources Defense Council, an environmental activism group, stated in a blog post on Wednesday.

“These programs will be soon followed by 15 different pilots that were recently approved by the state Public Utilities Commission and which target cars, trucks, buses, cranes, airport equipment, forklifts and other things that move,” Baumhefner wrote in the blog post.

The stations that PG&E would own would most likely be in multi-family residential apartment or condominium complexes, as well as in disadvantaged communities.

“These would be in places where cars would be more likely to sit for extended periods of time,” Vanrenen said.

PG&E launches electric vehicle charging network with 7,500 stations

There are new restaurants coming to the reborn Fulton Street. Here’s the latest

January 10, 2018 08:00 AM

Updated January 10, 2018 10:07 AM

When a brewery deal fell through, this developer opted to open a downtown event center

Hotels set sights on Clovis

A handful of Clovis hotels are in the works, like this one next to The Barnyard Shopping Center on Clovis Avenue, to help the city better accommodate visitors. (Ron Sundquist/Clovis Roundup)

“You can’t find a room in Clovis”—that’s the current dilemma in the up-and-coming destination city according to Shawn Miller, the city’s business development manager.

As it stands, Clovis has the highest occupancy rate in the Valley, with its scare hotel rooms booked at or near 100 percent, making it difficult for visitors to find a place to stay close to Clovis attractions and amenities.

Thankfully, hotel chains are taking notice and are now capitalizing on the opportunity to come to Clovis.

At least five new large-scale hotels are in the works. Already under construction are a La Quinta Inn at Clovis Avenue next to The Barnyard Shopping Center and a Marriott-operated hotel at Shaw and Helm. Additionally, the Clovis City Council just approved moving forward with the construction of a third hotel across from Sierra Vista Mall. Already, the area boasts a Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites, and now will be welcoming Home2 Suites, run by Hilton.

Lily Cha, who works in the city’s planning department, said the Home2 Suites will be a four-story, 111-room hotel with a footprint of about 16,000 square feet and a total floor area of 66,234 square feet. The hotel will also allow for extended stays.

According to Miller, a fourth hotel yet to be announced is planning to locate on the south side of Shaw Avenue next to Sunnyside, east of Sierra Vista Mall, and several are currently exploring sites near Clovis Community Medical Center and in the Herndon and Clovis area. The hope is that there will be at least one hotel, if not more, that offer extended stay options near the hospital.

Hotels set sights on Clovis

Beyond the food truck: Trendy and new mobile trailer businesses prove success in Bakersfield


She went to a two-week coffee school called American Barista and Coffee School in Portland, Ore., where she learned the ins and outs of specialty coffee, barista basics and the business side of what it takes to own a coffee shop.

Then Burnard researched. She studied countless coffee shops, their products, their interior designs and their atmospheres.

In the summer of 2016, she was ready to start her very own coffee shop. The 22-year-old college grad put together a business plan and sought out investors, but none of them were interested.

“They didn’t see the vision,” Burnard said.

On her own, she couldn’t find a building to rent within her budget.

It was time for a Plan B. With help from a friend, she found a 1991 Prowler trailer on Craigslist, remodeled it, and turned it into Cloud 9 Coffee Co., a mobile coffee shop in Bakersfield, which opened in April.

While the old business model used to be saving up money or taking out loans for a storefront, it’s becoming increasingly common across the country for millennial business owners to start with something more affordable — a mobile vehicle.

And the trend has hit Bakersfield.

Business owners throughout Bakersfield have repurposed tortilla delivery vans and junky trailers and transformed them into beautiful and trendy businesses, like Burnard’s, which she outfitted with marble countertops and hardwood floors.

But mobile businesses aren’t just for coffee and food.




Morgan Tasos, 22, turned her favorite hobby of making flower arrangements into a business with The Rustic Petal, a mobile flower shop that operates out of a 1959 Aristocrat trailer, which she found in Lake Isabella. It opened in late October.

And sisters Maraiah Bermudez, 19, and Mia Lopez, 14, have transformed an old La Bonita Tortilla delivery truck into Melange Boutique, a mobile boutique, which opened in August.

Tasos said her trailer and renovations cost her a total of $5,000, and Bermudez and Lopez found their van in the parking lot of Los Tacos De Huicho in February for just $3,900. Burnard found her trailer online for $800.

Before Burnard settled on a trailer business, she found a building she liked in downtown Bakersfield for a storefront. Her decision to go with the trailer was crystallized when she learned the owners were asking for $8,000 a month in rent.

“That’s out of this world,” she said. “That’s a few grand for rent I definitely don’t have to pay now.”

Not only does the cost relieve some stress that usually comes with owning a business, but the three women have less overhead, which is an advantage, said Drew Sharples, a financial investigator at the City of Bakersfield’s Office of Treasury who handles business permitting.


Beyond cost and overhead, the businesses are more nimble than brick-and-mortar establishments. They can go where their customers are.

When Cloud 9 Coffee isn’t parked in front of Stockdale Tower, it’s selling coffee at a Condors game or at church.

Bermudez, who plans to go to school for business and accounting, and Lopez, a freshman in high school, drive and park their van in downtown Bakersfield for Third Thursdays, First Fridays and Second Saturdays.

“You are going somewhere where people actually shop,” said Bermudez.

And when Tasos isn’t parked by The Round Up, she is co-hosting pop-up events with other businesses.

“You can go where it’s convenient for the community. And it’s easy to travel and hook up and go,” said Tasos, who works full time and is going to school part time to become a teacher.


The uniqueness of the mobile businesses has been gaining steady popularity, especially on social media with hundreds of followers.

Burnard admits her trailer is very “Instagram-able,” often posting photos of her trendy coffee mugs and her “shop dog,” Lemon.

Tasos feels the same way.

“(The Rustic Petal) is so different and unique, I think I have a good shot at making it,” Tasos said, of her mobile shop, which opened in late October.

The women update their schedules and events and show off their new products on Facebook and Instagram.

“It’s new in Bakersfield and it’s the only one in Bakersfield,” said Bermudez of Melange Boutique, which hosts Facebook Live pop up events. “We are getting a lot of recognition.”

Cloud 9 has become so well-known that investors who turned down Burnard for her unique vision a year ago have come back, and have asked to invest and expand, but she couldn’t be happier with where Cloud 9 is today.

“I think the whole trailer concept has been the best thing for my business because it’s so different,” said Burnard. “People come just to see it.”

“I wanted to go above and beyond because it’s so different. I wanted that ‘wow’ factor.”


Of course, owning a mobile business comes with its challenges and disadvantages.

Some mobile business owners have to fill up and drain tanks daily. They also need to change tires, charge batteries and clear countertops when moving so equipment doesn’t break.

Space can be an issue, too.

There is no refrigeration for excess flowers in The Rustic Petal, so Tasos can’t overstock.

In Burnard’s trailer, there is room for a maximum of four people, which can be a problem on a busy day when she needs more helping hands. Fewer employees means the customer wait time can go up. However, Burnard’s team takes advantage of the time to get to know the customers.

And on windy or rainy days, the owners may not want to leave their doors and windows open, or they may decide to shut down for the day.

Being small can make them more vulnerable to break-ins, which is what happened to Cloud 9 in late October.

“My team and I work really hard on what we do, and it’s discouraging to have someone take what we worked so hard for,” Burnard said.



There’s plenty of styles to choose from inside the mobile Melange Boutique. At left is owner Maraiah Bermudez and Mia Lopez.Felix Adamo / The Californian

However, these disadvantages didn’t stop the young businesswomen from pursuing their goals. For Burnard, Bermudez and Lopez, going mobile made the business possible a lot faster.

“(Starting a storefront) would have been a lot harder. Bakersfield is not super-progressive and so sometimes people don’t see the vision until it’s right in front of them,” Burnard said. “It’s a proven concept today. (Investors) believe in my product now. A year ago, people would say it’s too risky.”

For Tasos, if her trailer business wasn’t an option, she probably wouldn’t have opened The Rustic Petal.

“I don’t think I would have done a storefront because there are already so many of those,” Tasos said. “I don’t think I would have made it.”

Burnard plans to expand Cloud 9 Coffee to a “fleet of mobile units” sometime in the future, while Bermudez and Lopez hope to someday open up a storefront Melange Boutique.

But for now, the mobile businesses are staying on the streets.

After years of luring, Bakersfield finally lands Bass Pro Shop in town


One decade after Bass Pro Shops announced its intention to build a store in Bakersfield — a plan that has been marked with uncertainty amid economic downturn — the outdoor retail giant announced Wednesday that it would build its fifth California location in Kern County.

The Missouri-based outdoor retailer, which specializes in hunting, fishing and camping gear, will open a 100,000-square-foot store to anchor an 800,000-square-foot mixed-retail center at the northeast corner of Hosking Avenue and Highway 99 known as the Bakersfield Gateway.

It will be the retailer’s only store between Manteca and Rancho Cucamonga.

“We are very excited to be the lead anchor tenant for this innovative new development that is sure to have such a positive impac

t on Bakersfield, one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States,” Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO Johnny Morris said in a prepared statement. “Our store will be a tribute to the great sporting tradition and heritage of the region and a celebration of the sporting men and women of California.”

No timeline or estimated date for when the store would open has been released.

Stephen Coslik, chairman of The Woodmont Company, the Texas-based developer planning the project, said he

’s now confident the Bakersfield Gateway would be a success, crediting Bass Pro Shops’ “incredible draw.”

Beyond anchoring the anticipated development, Bass Pro Shops could boost the local economy. It anticipates hiring between 250 and 300 employees, many of whom will be locals.

Bass Pro Shops announced its intention to open a 150,000-square-foot store in Bakersfield first in 2007 at the Bakersfield Gateway site, but the recession sidelined the project.

“The project never materialized,” company communications manager Katie Mitchell told The Californian in 2014.

Bass Pro Shops never pulled out of the deal, which some considered critical to the success of the 93-acre development, said Bakersfield Community Development Director Jacqui Kitchen, adding, “it was just a long and extended negotiation.”

“With all the changes the retail sector has seen in the last several years, I think Bass Pro took some time to reflect on their overall development plans nationwide, but ultimately they realized this is a great opportunity they had within the city of Bakersfield,” Kitchen said. “It’s something we’ve all known is coming the last several years, and we’re very happy they’ve moved ahead with their (announcement).”

Although plans have not yet been finalized, Bass Pro Shop officials said in a press release that the Bakersfield location would include a gift and nature center featuring a variety of outdoor related items “from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture.” It would also include an expansive boat showroom offering Tracker, Nitro, Suntracker, Tahoe and Mako boats built by White River Marine Group.

Bakersfield planning and development officials have been working for the last five years to woo the retail giant to town, Kitchen said. Once the retailer gets site plans approved through the planning commission and applies for building permits, the city plans to help Bass Pro coast through the process, Kitchen added.

“The city is ready and willing to help them get through all the permitting process and make sure there’s as little red tape as possible,” Kitchen said.

Most exciting about the deal, Kitchen said, was the size of the store.

At 100,000-square-feet, it’s not the largest tier store Bass Pro Shops constructs, but it is larger than what’s been rumored, Kitchen said.

“We wanted to make sure Bakersfield residents get the best available amenity,” Kitchen said. “It seems Bass Pro is seeking to do just that.”


Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza Announces Grand Opening of New California Central Valley Location

Central California

May 8, 2017

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, the fast-casual concept known for its chef-driven menu and casually hip restaurants, today announced that it will open a new Central California location, in Clovis on May 11. The Clovis restaurant is located at 1840 Herndon Ave., features a 2,500-square foot interior with interior seating for 51 and exterior seating for 26, and is located in the Buchanan Crossroads Center at Herndon and Fowler Avenues. To celebrate the grand opening, the Clovis restaurant will offer FREE build-your-own artisanal pizzas on Thursday, May 11th from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. to anyone who follows Blaze Pizza on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Blaze also has additional central valley locations in Lodi (1537 Lower Sacramento Road), Tracy (2976 W. Grant Line Rd.), and Stockton at the Weberstown Mall (4950 Pacific Ave).

Blaze Pizza is a modern day “pizza joint” that has been inspiring excitement and cultivating fanatics for its custom-built artisanal pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies since it opened its first location in 2012. Each restaurant features an interactive open-kitchen format that allows guests to customize one of the menu’s signature pizzas or create their own, choosing from a wide selection of carefully sourced, high-quality ingredients – all for around $8. The generously-sized 11″ pizzas are then sent to a blazing hot open-flame oven – the centerpiece of the restaurant – where dedicated pizzasmiths ensure that the thin-crust pies are fast-fire’d and ready to eat in just 180 seconds. Each restaurant makes its own dough from scratch using a recipe developed by critically-acclaimed Executive Chef Bradford Kent (the “Pizza Whisperer”), which requires a 24-hour fermentation period to produce his signature light-as-air, crisp crust. For pizza fans with specific dietary needs, Blaze Pizza offers gluten-free dough and vegan cheese. The Clovis restaurant will also feature a selection of wine and craft beer.

To create the perfect vibe inside the Clovis restaurant, award-winning design architect Ana Henton has added several unique, modern touches, including an oversized wall graphic custom-built to suit the space. Additionally, in support of the company’s commitment to “Intelligent Choices for Our Pizzas, People & Planet”, the Clovis restaurant will use both recycled and sustainable materials and energy-efficient LED lighting, and will feature eco-friendly, compostable packaging.

“At Blaze, we’re all about creating an engaging dining experience where guests can enjoy artisanal pizza that’s both fast and affordable,” said Jim Mizes, president & COO of Blaze Pizza. “The authenticity of our food, plus a service culture that genuinely focuses on the happiness of our guests and crew – have been key to our popularity and expansion.”

The newest Blaze restaurant is looking forward to building strong roots within the community, offering a spot where guests can connect, create and enjoy. To that end, the restaurant promotes a turnkey fundraiser program that returns 20 percent of an event’s proceeds back to the organization, helping schools, sports clubs and other local groups “cause a scene for a good cause.”

The Clovis Blaze Pizza location will be locally owned and operated by DAMM Fine Pizza LLC, a franchise group developing locations throughout Central California.