SHERMAN OAKS—A newly revamped Ralph’s Fresh Fare market is closer to becoming a reality after the Los Angeles City Planning Commission voted unanimously to move the proposal forward on Thursday, September 23, despite a few concerns from residents. On that same day, the following was tweeted on the Sherman Oaks Ralphs Twitter Page, “So happy to announce that every Commissioner present approved the proposal! Congratulations all!”
For more than a year, The Kroger Company has been planning an expansion of the Ralphs supermarket on 14049 Ventura Blvd. (at Hazeltine Avenue) to increase the square footage of the old store from 40,611 square feet to 65,500 square feet. The store is expected to have a new array of amenities including a larger selection of organic produce, a wider variety of meats and seafood, a gourmet bakery, a sushi station and a cheese island to name a few.
More than 400 supporters signed a petition for the new Ralph’s Fresh Fare Market and many customers have contributed their thoughts through video messages on the myralphsshermanoaks.com website, in support of the refurbished store and what they’d like to see.
Public hearings have been held where citizens had the opportunity to voice their concerns about the expansion, and there has been some opposition to the new Ralph’s Fresh Fare market from residents who were concerned about the height of the proposed expansion. Under city code, the height restriction on new buildings is 30 feet. The current height of the existing Ralph’s building is 46 feet and with the new proposal the height will expand to 48 feet. The current Ralphs is more than 11 feet higher onVentura Boulevard than on Moorpark Street because of the structure at its current location.
According to the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association website, Councilmember Paul Koretz has not been supportive of the expansion. The site states, “Why should this company be allowed to violate the law that other property owners must follow?” Canyon News attempted to contact the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, but the call was not returned before press time.
The company has argued that it’s instrumental to have the proposed new height in order to prevent underground parking for customers, which has been a concern for people in the area. According to myralphsshermanoaks.com, the new height proposal will create more parking and allow customers to park on the street level near Moorpark Street and on an upper level near Ventura Boulevard. Traffic is also expected to run smoother in the area because of more efficient entries and exits to the revamped store.
Jill Banks Barad, president of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council, spoke at the September 23 hearing stating, “We are very excited to have a new Ralph’s that will reflect our community, give us better shopping options and will definitely enhance our community.”
The Ralph’s Fresh Fare is expected to remain a 24-hour store and will be eco-friendly to adhere to guidelines by the state of California. The current store will be closed for several months during the construction of the new market. Customers will have the option to shop at the Ralph’s located in Van Nuys on Burbank Boulevard or in Studio City near Ventura Boulevard. The approximate date of construction on the new store has yet to be disclosed.