Restaurant development to be built on Downey Ford site

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DOWNEY − Four new restaurants will soon replace the vacant Downey Ford buildings on the corner of Lakewood Boulevard and Gallatin Road. 

The Downey Planning Commission last Wednesday approved an 18,000-sq.-ft. development known as The Commons at Gallatin Road., which will incorporate one large dine-in restaurant, three smaller eateries, and a 4,000-sq.-ft. plaza for outdoor eating.

Once completed, two new buildings will sit on the 3.5-acre lot, which formerly occupied the Downey Ford car dealership, a city staple since the 1950s that closed down in 2009.

The first new building on the property will house a 12,144-sq.-ft. stand-alone restaurant while the second will accommodate three tenants in a 6,000-sq.-ft. structure on the northwest corner of the site.

The three-tenant structure will feature a drive-thru lane along the north and west sides of the building for one of the eateries and an outdoor eating area on the east side of the building with shaded seating and bicycle storage.

According to a city staff report, the developers and city officials met with members of a local neighborhood watch group where residents expressed concerns about potential traffic, parking, and security issues. They also raised questions about the potential tenants, which are still pending.

City planner David Blumenthal said no businesses are confirmed for the development yet, but a coffee shop and pizzeria are likely.

The Commons will utilize the existing four parking driveways off both Lakewood Boulevard and Gallatin Road in order to increase the flow of traffic at the site. 

The proposed design also calls for a traditional design of stucco siding with elements of stone, extensive windows, and fabric awnings. Drought tolerant plants and reclaimed water will grace the property as well as 20-ft.-tall LED lights in the parking lot. 

Blumenthal said demolition of the old Downey Ford buildings is scheduled to begin within the next month.