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Corner lot to house car wash

Several factors had delayed development of area in Santa Clarita

Posted: November 5, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 5, 2012 2:00 a.m.

As development in the city of Santa Clarita grew and the population swelled, a prime-location corner lot sat empty at Bouquet Canyon Road and Magic Mountain Parkway for years — until now.

A 25-year ground lease has been signed with the first-ever tenant on the property, said John Cserkuti, senior vice president with NAI Capital.

Construction will soon begin on an innovative express car wash called Dapper Dan’s.

Ryan Kuhns is the owner/builder for the business.

It took three years to put together the deal on behalf of the current owner, Cserkuti said.

A number of factors created a “perfect storm,” delaying the effort to find a tenant, he said.

One factor causing a delay was the economy. NAI Capital’s client purchased the property about six years ago.

In 2008, the commercial real estate firm had a letter of intent with Carl’s Jr., Cserkuti said, but the fast-food chain decided to pull the plug due to an internal reorganization.

And at one point, the city of Santa Clarita wanted to see the property used in other ways, Cserkuti said.

Sitting on about 2.2 acres of land, the corner lot is rough-graded with utilities stubbed and, according to the city, has some 53,400 cars passing by each day.

Another hurdle was that many businesses look for a specific population size nearby, and while at one time, there was talk of building some 3,000 housing units on the Whittaker-Bermite property, that has changed.

“Talks of housing have been abandoned,” said Jason Crawford, marketing and economic development manager for the city of Santa Clarita. “The city is looking more at the kind of development (on Whittaker-Bermite) that would be related to jobs.”

NAI Capital more recently had a lease with Mini Cooper for a new dealership, but the firm pulled the plug several months ago, Cserkuti said.

Still, a planned flyover bridge posed the biggest hurdle.


The biggest challenge in finding a business to locate at the corner was the city’s plan to eventually build a connector road to extend over the Whittaker Bermite property linking Magic Mountain Parkway to the cross-valley connector, Cserkuti said.

The city has easement rights over the corner property.

To construct a flyover bridge, the city plans to one day have “jug-handle” connector roads allowing traffic to go from Bouquet Canyon or Magic Mountain Parkway and cross over Whittaker-Bermite — in a similar fashion to how commuters access Soledad Canyon Road today from the Golden Valley Road flyover, Crawford said.

“The biggest hurdle was the inability to understand what we’d be left with,” Cserkuti said. “Tenants need to know how visibility and ground use will change because that would impact their business.”

It is very important for prospective tenants to know the variables of any given land before they build or locate, he said.

And in fact, Kuhns had to submit two different plans for the property — one plan for how the business will sit on the lot today, and another for how it will operate if the city one day builds a flyover bridge.

Dapper Dan’s

Kuhns is incorporating specific architectural elements into the design. Plans include a 35-foot tower at one end with shutters and other elements to add a 3-D value to the property, he said. Kuhns says the plan is to create a “Tommy Bahama design.”

“It’s a whole lot cheaper to build it bland,” Kuhns said. “This will cost more than your ordinary car wash. The equipment alone is more than $500,000.”

A 150-foot-long conveyer will pull drivers, seated in their cars, through the wash, with the whole experience taking less than five minutes. Safety personnel help guide the drivers into the tunnel. Commercial-grade vacuums will be on site as well.

The point of the express wash, Kuhns said, is to make it easy for any person with a busy schedule who doesn’t have 45 minutes or so to wait for a more traditional car washes.

Kuhns said he expects car wash prices to start around $5.

Valencia-based general contractor Intertex is looking for a tenant on the northern section of the property, where an available building pad remains, Kuhns said.

A coffee shop would make a good pairing, he said.

“We’re kind of honored that we’re the first business to go on that lot,” Kuhns said.



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