Fox Block Rises from the Ashes


City staff is back to hustle the infamous Fox Block project after it was killed by city council earlier this year. The project was shot down by a suddenly-fiscally-conservative council majority because it included a $6 million dollar giveaway to the McDonalds corporation that would be used to build a brand new fast food restaurant and hand it over to the corporation in exchange for a lesser property that the Redevelopment Agency “needs” to complete the project.

An email from the Fullerton Historical Theater Foundation urges supporters to show up at the study session on Tuesday night to voice opinions on the project. The email also included a first glimpse at the redesigned project:

fox-villageThe rest of the drawings do not seem to be available yet, probably because staff prefers the public to be disarmed of the facts when the meeting begins. That way it’s easier to control the presentation: wax the upsides, minimize the downsides and keep those pesky residents from vocally questioning the dubious aspects of this project.

Judging from the angry crowd that attended the last study session on the Fox Block, the discussion will center around:

  • The height of the buildings and parking structure and their impact on the surrounding neighborhood.
  • The McDonalds move, which still appears in the new plans.
  • The use of empty promises and taxpayer subsidies to control the type of non-viable businesses that residents and staff would prefer to see in the complex.
  • Fake McSpanish architecture
  • The inconsequential relationship of this project to the actual restoration of the Fox Theatre.

So come on down to the Police Department Mural Room on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 5:00 p.m. It should be interesting.

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  1. #1 by blinky on October 19, 2009

    Arteco Partners forgot to grease the skids. A little donation to the Fullerton Collaborative might move things along. Wink Wink.

  2. #2 by Greg on October 19, 2009

    I was SHOCKED when they killed this. I like the concept, but I don’t like the way redevelopment has gone about it. I think if the public knew just how much of our tax-dollars were spent on this private endeavor, they would recall the council.

    This has been in the works for a long time; too long to suddenly stop the way it did.

    From a regulatory perspective, I have seen several “show-stoppers” that were aloud to squeeze by thanks to a few key people.

  3. #3 by An Observer on October 19, 2009

    Why meet in the mural room for a power point presentation? The facility is too small for the kind of crowd that showed up at A&V’s, and there’s no TV broadcast ability as would be possible in city hall. And the lighting is not good.

    Did the Redevelopment Agency take away from the Fox people the money-making corner?

  4. #4 by Joe Sipowicz on October 19, 2009

    Good points, all. I think the thing that really needs to be stressed is the detachment of the theater restoration from the rest of the make-work mess for Zur Schmiede’s department.

    The first thing that should happen is to drop the “Fox Village” bullshit and name it something else; maybe “Don Bankhead’s Brain Dead Folly.”

    But are they now going to move the McDonalds an evern shorter distance?! My god how stupid can these people get?

  5. #5 by Billy Bob the Blight Boy on October 19, 2009

    The whole project should have been dropped and the land sold off. As Dr. Heehaw would say:

    E-NUFF, E-NUFF FOR GOD’S SAKE!

  6. #6 by the divine miss k on October 19, 2009

    Excuse me. But it seems like the Fox isn’t a for sure “go,” correct? Or have the raised the agreed funds within the original time stipulated…. or wait…. was that “date” and “amount” just a ruse by the Redevelopment Dept?
    So why are we bothering with the rest of this unless we are assured that the Fox (which is the centerpiece) is a go?

  7. #7 by Travis on October 19, 2009

    Miss K, you nailed it. At the last study session, several Fox Theatre supporters that I talked to walked away with the sinking realization that the Fox Block would not help to progress the theater restoration. The two projects are only tied together when it makes a convenient sales pitch to the public.

  8. #8 by van get it da artiste on October 19, 2009

    As a Fullerton lifer, I occasionally foray into downtown Fullerton, yet it seems most of the city’s revenue is centered on these 2 square miles. As for the save the fox bunch, they confuse historical with antiquarian. What is the historical significance of the run down fox theatre? what momentous event happened at the fox that justifies more tax dollars being sunk into it? the 1920′s/1930′s ubiquitous art deco design of the fox theatre is found in other parts of downtown fullerton, and these are privately owned, well-preserved buildings. the save the Fox gang are like people who spend thousands of dollars on first edition books of classic literature but never bother to read the contents of their precious books. Here is my suggestion, instead wasting my and other fullertonites tax dollars on saving the fox theatre, how about the city council prudently nixing the Save the fox and the fox block project so to save the tax payer’s money for necessary municipal projects.

  9. #9 by Sarah on October 19, 2009

    Like bailing out our city attorney’s settlement with the county?

    I would love to see a play or movie there like I did as a child. The fox block just doesn’t make sense.

  10. #10 by DUH on October 19, 2009

    This is what I really don’t like.
    We get so hung up on “historic preservation” to the point of asking for fake McSpanish and fake brick and now fake flagstone in order to make it look like the authentic buildings across from it.

    But wait! The proportions are all off, the materials are not the same. What’s there can never be replicated, so…. why hold people to building something: 1. Milquetoast and 2. Using cheap materials that are going to crack and fall off?

    I like the idea of modern next to old. But I don’t mean crap modern. I mean sustainable architecture, the thoughtful juxtaposition of old and great, next to modern and great. But in order to do this REAL BONAFIDE ARCHITECTS need to be hired.

    And groups like the Fullerton Heritage need to take a back seat and trying to ram their “vision” of fake McSpanish as being …well… just so much more “charming” than what can be done now.

    There’s a real arrogance to groups like Fullerton Heritage. I hope no one pays them much attention at the meeting tomorrow night.

  11. #11 by van get it da artiste on October 20, 2009

    sarah, i remeber seeing Pinocchio and snow white at the fox, i also remember in the 1970′s women protesting its showing of snuff movies.
    Sarah, I dont want millions of tax dollars being wasted especially during an economic depression on your nostalgia. What is sooo historically significant about this Fox theatre? Are you capable of coming up with just one meaningful event held there that echoes through time?

  12. #12 by plazatastic on October 20, 2009

    Golly, this new drawing has no less than three (3) plazas.

    • #13 by The Fullerton Harpoon on October 20, 2009

      #12 you have identified one of the Redevelopment developers stock-in-trade. Throw in a “plaza” or three and watch the boohoo rube-bulbs light up!

      Cue Molly McClananhan: Ohhhhohhhohohohooo. Plazas! Threeeeee plazaaaaaaasss!

      Note also the asinine name: “pedestrian passeo” and then recall city staff’s insistence on calling naming the Toxic Waste Flume “Passeo Park.”

  13. #14 by Passeoholes on October 20, 2009

    Maybe they can rename the West Harbor Avenue Alley Reconstruction Project the “West Harbor Avenue Pedestrian Passeo.”

  14. #15 by Fullerton Gal on October 20, 2009

    Looks as if this is not about the Fox Theatre. The current plans would TOWER with a parking structure as high or higher than the FOX!…. Why not clean up the block, leave McD’s alone put in a Trader Joe’s. (instead of retail & Jazz bar) Cover the barranca for some cheep parking. Use some of that wasted space. Come on people!

  15. #16 by Billy Bob the Blight Boy on October 20, 2009

    Sell it off. Let’s get the city OUT of the development business. All they know how to do is waste money and build blight. But they are very good at it.

  16. #17 by PP on October 21, 2009

    #18 I am in agreement with you.
    Save the Fullerton Taxpayers would be awesome!
    The Fullerton Heritage is just another “non-profit” for profit at the taxpayers expense.
    Who does it really serve? the occupants of the building.
    They need to close the entire structure, sure Angelos food is “okay” not fantastic but for every spoonful of minestrone there is millions us taxpayers have to swallow to keep them subsidized. The same with Mc Ripoff, I do not like eating burgers with a giant cloud of tax subsidies. We may as well turn the whole place in a homeless shelter since we are going to get raped in taxes!

  17. #18 by unreal on October 21, 2009

    I saw the new Fox Block drawings last night. You guys are going to flip over the new McDonalds building. Can’t wait to read about it.

    • #19 by Rod Carter on October 21, 2009

      A “new” mcDonald’s building? WTF? The council just shot down the plan to move it in June. man, something stinks here and it isn’t just a guy in fullerton’s feet!

  18. #20 by Stan on April 14, 2010

    We should name this project “Gardenwalk Redoux”

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