DOWNEY - Specific details of the forthcoming Porto's Bakery emerged this week when representatives of the property owner appeared before the Planning Commission to gain approval for construction.According to a staff report prepared by deputy city manager and community development director Gilbert Livas, Porto's Bakery will be two stories tall with the bottom level dedicated to a 12,674-square foot bakery and café, complete with indoor dining and two patios. "Most of the building" will be single-story, except for a second story at the rear of the building for employee space. Porto's main entrance will face Firestone Boulevard. The report says Porto's will open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Sunday hours will be 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tricities Cal Properties, LP owns the property at the northwest corner of Downey Avenue and Firestone Boulevard, formerly known as Cardono Square, where Porto's will be located. According to the report, an existing two-story building at 8233 Firestone Blvd. will be demolished to make room for Porto's. The five-story office building next door, at the corner of Downey Avenue and Firestone Boulevard, will remain in place, although there are plans to replace its white plaster and gold glazing "with glass that has a more contemporary appearance, as well as complements the architectural style of the proposed bakery," Livas wrote in the report. Twenty-five feet will separate Porto's and the five-story office building. A shaded courtyard will be constructed here and will include "a fountain, decorative hardscape, trees and plant materials." To satisfy parking requirements, a two-level parking structure will be built at the rear of the property, between Firestone Boulevard and New Street. This will create 172 stalls, 66 of which will be designated for compact vehicles. Porto's employees will be expected to park on the top level, the report says. Most of the parking structure's walls will be covered with plants, possibly vines or creeping figs. The only wall absent plants is the south elevation, facing Porto's, "but the architect instead proposes to use glass and decorative, horizontal wood slats to cover the stairwell." Glass and wood slats will also be used to cover the parking structure's northwest stairwell. "[By] opening a bakery/café at the proposed location, the project will bring people downtown to both shop and eat," Livas wrote in the report. "Moreover, the proposed development is an attractive project with respect to the building and its on-site improvements so project development would provide…an interesting element." Restaurant owner Raul Porto said last week the restaurant could open next May.
********** Published: October 9, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 25