Friday, January 6, 2012

Everything New is Old Again!

Hang on tight, here it comes!  The most exciting redevelopment project in Anaheim's history is underway, as our downtown's Center Street Promenade undergoes an extreme makeover.
Once home to historic buildings that have since been destroyed, the area will soon be inhabited with non-chain retail stores and restaurants that will bring a hip vibe to the area.

New windows (left) look older and more classic than the old ones (right).
The outdated Center Street, designed in the 1980s, is rapidly being re-imagined as a classic 1940s American downtown.   In the visual styling of this project, it's evident that old has become the new new. For example, the K&A Cafe facade is currently in the process of getting fresh windows and doors, which look convincingly as though they've been here for generations.  Antique-looking fold-out windows with panes of wavy hand-made glass are replacing the previous teal-framed ones - and the effect is stunning.

K&A's new interior, in progress.
Inside, the K&A is beginning to look like a whole new cafe.  Vintage "chicken wire tile" cover the floor, new chairs and tables are being brought in, subway tiles add texture to the back wall, and soon an embossed tin ceiling will be installed  "We're very excited about the changes," say K&A owners Kathy and Art Cervantes, who serve up sandwiches, tacos and pastries to the downtown lunch crowd.

K&A owner Art Cervantes (left) with AHS Vice President Kevin Kidney
Large window panels now fold open so diners can enjoy the weather as they eat, while the aromas of good food are carried out to passersby in the street.

Fresh-brewed iced tea and homemade cheese danish
at one of the new glass-topped "community tables".
 Luther Miller (right), Construction Project Manager for Center Street's redevelopment.
An undertaking this big obviously requires passionate and creative people. The Lab's Project Manager Luther Miller grew up visiting the old downtown Anaheim as a kid, and fondly remembers the city's sense of excitement and activity.  "Anaheim's downtown was king!" he recalls, "Back then the city had it all, and everyone came here." Miller is confident that the project will bring that good feeling back again. "Creating a timeless, appealing environment is just the first step.  Fortunately the buildings on this street have good bones!"

Exterior lighting fixtures, then and now!
Watch for further updates on the transformation of our historic downtown in the weeks ahead.

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