Woodlake poised for town center market

City of Woodlake welcomes market place development at intersection of Valencia Blvd, highway 216

@TheSunGazette

WOODLAKE – Woodlake is not necessarily the place you think of when booming valley towns come to mind. But that might have to change.

Jon Startz who is funding the project is planning to renovate the southwest corner of Valencia Boulevard and Highway 216. The proposed Woodlake Town Center will be 9,600 square feet and rent up to eight units. Startz intends to build for restaurants on the bottom level and office space at the top.

He said he envisions professional businesses such as real estate offices, banks or phone service providers like Verizon to fill the upstairs available space. Meanwhile restaurants and retail can operate on the first level. City administrator Ramon Lara and community development director Jason Waters said he has already begun to attract tenants to help fund the project.

Speeding the project along is the in place curb and gutter, sidewalks, water and gas hook ups and electricity.

“It’s not like he’s starting from scratch…He has a pad to land on,” Lara said.

The motivation behind Startz’s new development is simply the amount of people moving into Woodlake. Lara said that Startz has a friend who has 59 lots to sell, and 24 are already under construction. Meanwhile Self-Help Enterprises has another 40-home development on the way. According to Lara, 20 have been built and 20 more are currently under construction. With Woodlake’s population growing, Startz recognizes that residents need businesses that meet their needs.

Startz said that residents in Woodlake have been reliant on Visalia to provide things they need, and with growth ramping up it is time Woodlake have some restaurants and retail of its own.

For the city, Waters said that an influx of development illustrates a confidence in the town.

“Obviously it is a positive thing and that Woodlake is a positive place where people want to live and build homes and it feeds off its self when people want to build homes then people want to build business,” Waters said.

Growth is not necessarily a surprise for Woodlake. City planning in town has moved at a brisk pace compared to previous Woodlake administrations. In a short five years Woodlake has built their brand new community center, renovated lots for neighborhood pocket parks, installed tasteful sidewalks throughout downtown and rediscovered city recreation leagues for adults and children. It has been the spirit of that growth Startz has been the recipient of.

He said Woodlake has been very easy to work with. Planning began as recently as a year ago and Startz was able to close on the property by July. Now he is claiming that construction could be done as quickly at six months from now. And other plans are on the way.

Startz has also bought a second property nearby, across from the Bravo Lake and Botanical gardens. He said that he plans to also create a small market there. A date for construction is currently up in the air, but Startz hopes to have it completed in a year.

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