Building up the corner of what was once the premiere site for campaign signs in Bakersfield is well underway.
Bakersfield residents should expect to see by the end of this year a Sully Market and Fueling Station and several restaurants in the Stockdale Centre, near the northern corner of the once-empty lot at Stockdale Highway and Coffee Road.
Meanwhile, building construction of the 118-room Hyatt Place Hotel is expected to start before the end of next year.
Duane Keathley, commercial real estate broker at Cushman & Wakefield, said the hotel and gas station would add services needed in that section of the city.
"If you stood at the corner of Stockdale Highway and Coffee Road, you've got to think about where there's a gas station," Keathley said.
The closest station is 1 mile north, across the Westside Parkway.
He said the hotel is strategically placed on the map as California Resource Center, Aera, Chevron, Texaco and related engineering companies are focused in the university area. The hotel could also attract guests connected to the university, he said.
The city's first Cafe Rio Mexican Grill will be one of the restaurants in the center. The other two will be Blaze Pizza, which has one location west of Highway 99 along California Avenue, and Jersey Mike's Subs, which currently has a location on Ming Avenue and one at Coffee and Hageman roads.
But the original reason for the gas station, restaurants and hotel was to provide services for a main clientele base of office workers.
In 2014, the Planning Commission approved the 14.76-acre lot to be zoned for professional or administrative offices.
These offices will provide a strong base for the restaurants and were the reason city staff approved permits for building something other than offices.
The goal of putting in those services, Keathley said, is to keep workers from having to get in their car to go someplace for lunch.
But the original plans were for those offices to be used by the oil industry, but that market has retreated in recent years. So the first office building will be for medical offices. This two-story building will be behind the restaurants — set back from Coffee Road.
As the building is about three-quarters preleased, construction will begin when more leases are signed.
These new amenities east of Cal State Bakersfield will also cause some improvements to Coffee Road's traffic flow by creating at least one dedicated right-turn lane along Coffee Road to enter the center and adding a turnout for the Route 21 and 61 Golden Empire Transit buses.
Most of the construction is focused on the most northern part of the lot, at Westfield and Coffee roads, so there are still about 7 acres left to build office space. Keathley said they are still working on the details of those parcels as they try to attract more tenants, so they received permission from the city to extend the time period for their tentative parcel map.
Though it might be revised later, the current parcel map submitted to the city shows this portion of the lot would also bring traffic improvements, adding a right-turn lane from Stockdale Highway to northbound Coffee Road.