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Rumors swirl around empty Nikki’s Cafe

December 4, 2012

By Rene De La Cruz
STAFF WRITER

Ever since owner Robin Angelopoulos and her family closed Nikki’s Cafe in 2011, rumors have swirled around the vacant property on the corner of Bear Valley and Apple Valley roads.

The first rumor began soon after Angelopoulos leased the property to Chase Bank, which planned to open a branch on site, but decided to pull the plug on the project because the town of Apple Valley supposedly asked Chase for $500,000 in infrastructure improvements. That rumor turned out to be false.

Chase and leasing agent Grubb & Ellis would not comment directly, but a Chase agent revealed that the banking giant halted its plans, citing federal banking regulatory issues that restrict development strategies, according to an e-mail from the town.

“The type and amount of improvements would depend on the type of project, but would be identified with full knowledge of the developer during the permitting process,” the town letter said.

Any project within the town’s boundaries would be required to make improvements to accommodate the project’s impact to the area, which may include improvements for vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow, impact to surrounding traffic signals, sewer flow and management of storm water run-off.

The improvements would be required as part of the development plans for a specific project — not in advance.

After temporary fencing was erected around the property, and two smaller buildings were razed in May, word quickly spread that In-N-Out Burger and the owner of Peaches Gentlemen’s Club were looking at the property.

But burgers and dancing poles were never discussed, according to the town officials, who said they have not communicated with either business.

Just before the town moved the construction fence away from the road to allow pedestrian traffic to proceed, rumor spread that the town had designated the property as a historical landmark.

But the town said the property owner still retains the right to alter, improve or even remove the building, and that the town does not plan to designate the former neatery.

The town did confirm that Denny’s and General Nutrition Center are planning to open at the Jess Ranch Marketplace. Papa John’s pizza was scheduled to open last Thursday at the Mojave River Crossings shopping Center near Home Depot.

Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.