In the Spring of 2020, just as COVID-19 was starting to transform all of our lives, Studio One Eleven created a concept for Reopening Main Street that outlined how Al Fresco dining could be a temporary solution for many restaurants to survive the pandemic.
Studio One Eleven Founding Principal Alan Pullman, AIA, served as a sought-after spokesperson appearing on newscasts and commenting in articles about outdoor dining as a solution for creating safe environments during COVID. View Here
Already a client of Studio One Eleven, the City of Glendale reached out for help with their Al Fresco program before the State required it of California.
Jennifer McLain Hiramoto, Glendale's Deputy Director of Economic Development for the City of Glendale, notes that the City allocated $300,000 to fund the Al Fresco program. The City Council agreed to waive the fees for both the Sidewalk Dining and Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) Permits until December 31, 2020. Al Fresco Glendale permits are now in effect until December 31, 2020.
Eligibility for Al Fresco permits includes restaurants, private property, parking lots, and public right-of-way, including sidewalks and pre-designated city street parklets.
The City of Glendale’s Economic Development and Concierge team conducted business outreach to local businesses, to gauge interested businesses who would like to participate in the program. Businesses understood that the city would provide certain elements such as tables, chairs and umbrellas, but the business would be responsible for keeping the spaces clean and sanitized, and secure during none-operating hours.
The city selected the physical spaces they would transform into parklets based on the results from the outreach program. There are eight locations on Brand Boulevard in Downtown Glendale and seven areas on Honolulu Avenue in the Montrose Shopping District. View Glendale's Al Fresco Page Here
Studio One Eleven planned each parklet's layout, selected the furniture and umbrellas, updated and the landscaping, and participated in the installation. The quick project timeline meant that the work started in June and opened for first use on the Fourth of July weekend.
The quick project timeline also meant starting and then making incremental changes as necessary. By this time the State of California was officially creating regulations on how outdoor dining must operate. So, the city and Studio One Eleven had to adapt and respond to new state regulations constantly.
To make an appealing outdoor dining ambiance, the K-rails on Brand were outfitted with a modified version of a pattern that had been developed for Glendale's Artsakh Avenue. As the program grew, that transformed into paint and stencils to be most effective. The K-rails on Honolulu Avenue were painted green and outfitted with a white and green stencil to blend in with the city's aesthetic.
The ambitious Glendale Al Fresco program has created 15 parklets, supported 68 restaurants and created and or retained an estimated 2,720 jobs.
The success of Glendale Al Fresco is also seen in the enjoyment of the visitors who now can dine or shop outdoors and benefit from this safe environment, and would not have been possible without the support of the community and key stakeholders.
"Our partners in Al Fresco Dining are: the Glendale City Council, the City of Glendale, Studio One Eleven, Greater Downtown Glendale Association, and Montrose Shopping Park Association," said Hiramoto.
Because of the success and the continued interest from businesses, the city has plans to add additional parklets at each location and has worked with Studio One Eleven to modify current parklet layouts to maximize efficiencies.
In Glendale, phase two of the Al Fresco program extends the kinds of businesses eligible for outdoor activities. Now, various businesses, from gyms to salons, are trying to get creative while following regulations by municipalities.
On September 23, Urban Design Director Shannon Heffernan of Studio One Eleven moderated ULI LA's Al Fresco Panel, View Here. Jennifer McLain Hiramoto, Deputy Director of Economic Development, City of Glendale, and panelists discussed lessons learned from this experience and provided insights into what Al Fresco 2.0 could look like.
As the virus still lingers and fall is now here, the team is planning how to convert the spaces for continued success - umbrellas into heat lamps.