The Ceres Planning Commission has given a proposed commercial project opposite Ceres High School another two years to develop.
On Monday the four panel members granted a two-year extension to a Conditional Use Permit to build Whitmore Towers, a 7,280-square-foot retail building focused on eating establishments on the triangle-shaped lot across the street from Ceres High School.
Renee Ledbetter, an agent with EXIT Realty in Ceres, is helping Anthony Nowaid of the Calabasas based Sugarman Asset Management, LLC recruit tenants but the project has been on hold since COVID-19.
If built, Whitmore Towers will occupy a high profile intersection in Ceres – the triangle-shaped lot opposite the Ceres High School administration building. The lot at Whitmore and Central avenues is 1.13 acres in size and was created years ago when Caltrans created the new Whitmore Avenue interchange with Highway 99. The project would specifically accommodate up to seven retail spaces with a variety of uses to serve residents and highway travelers. Nowaid proposed the building to be divided into three separate food-oriented tenant spaces with two outdoor seating areas – one on the roof – and a foyer that would accommodate the customers of those restaurant users. As proposed, one 4,300-square-foot sit-down restaurant would be created, along with a 1,200-sq.-ft. fast-food restaurant, and a 1,200-sq.-ft. ice cream shop.
Senior Planner James Michaels said the applicant has been working with the city’s Engineering Division to prepare onsite and offsite improvements of the project and submitted those drawings in May.
“However the applicant requires additional time to prepare the construction drawings for the building itself and approving the time extension request will allow the applicant to continue working towards preparing those documents,” said Michaels.
Commissioners expressed hopes that the project will eventually come to fruition.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since this thing came before us,” said Commissioner Bob Kachel. “Goes by quick and I’m glad to see it’s still on track. It was an exciting project then and it remains one. I for one am anxious to see it happen.”
Commissioner Dave Johnson said the property has been one the city has pondered a good use for and noted he is excited.
The extension was granted in a 4-0 vote. The Ceres Planning Commission is absent its fifth member.