City of Lancaster and InSite Development Announce the Evolution of The BLVD
Anticipation Mounting as The BLVD Prepares to Welcome Marriott, Regency Theatres, Buckles & Boots Country Western Bar, and More
The City of Lancaster and InSite Development recently joined together to announce the next chapter in the evolution of The BLVD. A number of innovative concepts and world-class brands are set to become part of downtown Lancaster’s eclectic urban mix.
“Since the streetscape project was completed in 2010, The BLVD has transformed from a resurgent downtown into a vibrant, thriving urban core,” said City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “Yet even in those few short years, our world has changed. The needs and wants of our community have evolved. This next phase in the development of The BLVD takes into account those needs and seeks to provide all residents and visitors to the Antelope Valley, from Millennials on up, an array of exciting and unique experiences right here in Lancaster.”
Perhaps the most significant change to The BLVD will be the addition of a newly constructed Marriott Residence Inn. The five-story, 105-room hotel will be located on the northwest corner of Gadsden and Lancaster Boulevard, adjacent to the recently opened Starbucks. The hotel will feature a rooftop pool, a high-end lobby and podium parking.
“Marriott Residence Inn is the number one performing select-service extended-stay hotel brand in the world. They do not simply hand out these franchises without performing thorough research into the city as well as the particular area it will be located,” said Steve Eglash, partner of InSite Development. “Our research shows that people who stay at these hotels want to walk to dinner and entertainment, not drive. I wish I could snap my fingers and have it built today.”
Another significant addition to the downtown’s many attractions will be a Regency Theatre, occupying the site of the former BLVD Cinema. Regency already operates 19 theatres with a total of 195 screens throughout Southern California; including the iconic Village and Bruin Theatres in Westwood, the Lido in Newport Beach, and the Casablanca-themed dine-in theatre and restaurant in San Juan Capistrano. Regency is investing $150,000 in renovations that are already underway, including new state-of-the-art electric reclining chairs. In addition, the former Forge space will be divided into smaller independent spaces to allow additional commercial tenants to take advantage of the growth along The BLVD.
An equally exciting announcement is that, beginning in January 2018, the existing BeX complex will undergo substantial renovations, with a heavy emphasis on nightlife options. RoShamBo Lounge will transform into “Buckles & Boots,” a live country music venue modeled on perennially popular country western bars in locations such as San Diego’s Gaslamp District and Pasadena’s Old Town District. The Underground Bowling Lounge will receive a number of upgrades as well as a menu change to enhance its birthday, corporate and holiday party business. BeX Bar & Grill will become Don Sal’s Mexican Restaurant, an upscale cantina. This highly successful family-owned venture will be relocating from nearby Kern County.
“We are always looking for new ways to heighten the experience of The BLVD,” said Scott Ehrlich, partner of InSite Development. “We did a broad search to find fresh new concepts that will complement and enrich downtown Lancaster’s nightlife opportunities, while also expanding the selection of dining and entertainment venues for our visitors.”
“After speaking to many people who visit The BLVD, the consensus was that a high-end Mexican kitchen and cantina would be the perfect addition to add more energy to The BLVD. We interviewed a number of operators and immediately knew that Don Sal’s Mexican Restaurant was exactly the partner we were looking for. Fresh food, guacamole, salsa and bean dip prepared at the table -- and the best margaritas around! They are family-run, which was very important to us. They have been through the grind and have reaped the rewards, earning the highest YELP rating for their classification.”
“With the recent addition of Starbucks and now a Marriott Residence Inn, Regency Theatres, and Buckles & Boots, our downtown area will truly shine as a top dining and entertainment destination. All three concepts will have distinctive new unique menus, offering a variety of dining and entertainment options within the same complex. The BLVD is no longer a community secret,” added Ehrlich.
“All of these new additions will join existing pillars such as Kinetic Brewing Company and Pour d’Vino to lend a more eclectic and urban flavor to The BLVD’s nightlife,” said Tim Anders, co-owner of BeX and Past President of The BLVD Association. “The BLVD has long been a gathering place for the Antelope Valley, a place where you can experience a true sense of community. We are looking to build on that firm foundation to create new opportunities to not only enjoy a great night out, but to connect with one another – all in a fresh and upscale setting.”
“I’d like to thank Scott Ehrlich, Steve Eglash, and the entire InSite Development team. The thriving downtown we have today is due in no small part to their vision, investment, and partnership with the City of Lancaster, and they continue to work every day to improve our BLVD,” added Mayor Parris.
“We are particularly proud of small business owners like Tim Anders and Dorian Salazar of BeX, Underground Bowl and the lounge. They have consistently been incredible supporters of The BLVD and the entire community, re-investing their time and money to help make Lancaster a better place. Now, as The BLVD evolves, they are working to take their business to the next level and create exciting new options for our residents to enjoy – all in the name of building a better BLVD.”
Regency Theatres is slated to open in early December, while Bex will remain open through the end of 2017. Renovations will then take place throughout the month of January. Ehrlich expects to have “Buckles & Boots” open by Super Bowl weekend.
“On the heels of celebrating our fortieth year of incorporation, we are definitely kicking off 2018 in style,” said City of Lancaster Vice Mayor Marvin Crist. “Scott and his team are extremely dynamic, and have proven that they are more than capable of taking an idea and producing successful ventures within a very short period of time. With these changes, our vision for The BLVD has come to fruition better than ever before. It is not only the Entertainment Capital of the Antelope Valley; it is a place where friends meet, businesses thrive and the community comes together as one.”
Since The BLVD was renovated in 2010, more than 60 businesses have either opened or relocated to the thriving downtown area. The BLVD has been recognized with a number of state, national, and even international awards, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Award for Smart Growth Achievement and the International Downtown Association’s Pinnacle Award. In addition, The BLVD was recently named a California Cultural District, a distinction bestowed upon only 14 destinations throughout the state.
“We couldn’t be more excited to see this infusion of new investment coming to The BLVD,” said Myrle McLernon, President of The BLVD Association and co-owner of Kinetic Brewing Company. “Each new concept adds to the synergy of the downtown area, enriching the vibrant mix of businesses that makes our downtown so unique.”
“We pride ourselves on being a ‘City of firsts,’ and an innovative leader in a number of civic matters,” added City of Lancaster Council Member Raj Malhi. “The major additions we are announcing today further solidify the City of Lancaster as a premier destination for young professionals, as well as families of all ages.”
“At this point, the only thing The BLVD will be missing is high-end market rate apartments and condos. stay tuned,” hinted Ehrlich.For more information about The BLVD, as well as downtown businesses and events, visit theblvdlancaster.com. Follow The BLVD on Facebook at facebook.com/theblvdlancaster for frequent updates on the changes coming to downtown Lancaster.