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West Ventura County Focus

VENTURA : Fate of Historic Market to Be Decided

March 05, 1994|PEGGY Y. LEE

After years of trying to decide what to do with the historic Peirano grocery store, a 117-year-old historical landmark across from San Buenaventura Mission, the Ventura City Council on Monday is scheduled to settle the fate of the city-owned building.

The council will decide between two proposals from developers that call for either seismically upgrading the building or razing the structure, which is boarded-up and vacant.

Ventura Realty wants to buy the Peirano building from the city and demolish it to show off a tile-lined pool underneath that might have been used by Spanish missionaries as a laundry. A facade of the Peirano building would be built, and the laundry would be the main focus of a courtyard surrounded by a restaurant, shops and offices.

JKL & M Associates, based in Oxnard, proposes to rent the Peirano building to retail stores or a restaurant and would lease the adjoining Wilson Studio space for a municipal art gallery. The laundry would be highlighted in the gallery.

The Ventura Artists' Union, a group of local artists, had proposed to rent the Peirano building from the city for an art gallery, but the group withdrew its proposal Thursday and decided to back JKL & M Associates instead.

A subcommittee of the City Council has thrown its support behind Ventura Realty's proposal, largely because city leaders are reluctant to spend $430,000 in seismic repairs for the old brick grocery store. The city has been unsuccessful in leasing the building since 1987 because of the high costs to make it meet earthquake safety codes.

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