San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce Celebrates Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting at the “Shops at University Park”

Story and Photography by Ricardo Tomboc

On Saturday, April 14th, the JR Watson & Associates Development Corporation and the San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the first phase of the “Shops at University Park”. The ceremony took place at the outdoor seating area of the complex that faced towards the California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB) campus and overlooked a newly developed University Plaza area. The new complex is located on the southwest corner of NorthPark Boulevard and University Parkway. These new shops will serve the university and surrounding communities.

The University Plaza is owned by the CSUSB, but the many improvements were funded by JR Watson. The plaza includes a new performing stage, landscaping, shade structures, seating area, lighting, and a special water fountain.

The completion of this first phase of the development included several new businesses in San Bernardino; Dicky’s BBQ Restaurant, Jamba Juice, Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwiches, and Wayback Burgers.

During the Grand Opening statements, Judi Penman announced that “the best is yet to come”! In a few weeks, the Developers will be conducting a ground-breaking ceremony for a new building that will be housing six new businesses in San Bernardino. The new businesses are VCA Animal Hospital, Poki Nation, Asian Fusion, Fire Wings, Coffee & Tea, and Afters Ice Cream. According to Jim Watson the Developer and Owner, the businesses should be opening by September of this year.

Henry Nickel Fifth Ward Councilperson for this area presented a Certificate of Welcome and Best Wishes from the Mayor and all the City Councilmembers. Representatives from Assemblyperson Marc Steinorth and State Senator Mike Morrell also awarded Certificates of appreciation. The Cajon High School Jazz Band played during the ceremony and were the first to play live on the new stage.

Fernando Dutra, Builder and Land Developer unveiled a fountain sculpture created by the late Richard Johnson who was the Professor of Arts at the University. The plaza on which the sculpture stands will soon be a gathering place for the many residents and students. According to Fernando Lost West Landscape Architects and Land Scape Contractor Service Scapes played an important part in developing this new plaza.

Many of the vendors were offering free food samples, and some held raffles and giveaways. Akram and Manak Chahine are the new owners of the Wayback Burgers, and this is their first restaurant. They are looking forward to serving the community.

Paolo Tovar is the new owner of Jimmy John’s restaurant in San Bernardino and is also the owner of the Jimmy John’s restaurant in Fontana. Paolo’s commitment to the community was demonstrated back in 2016 during the Blue Cut Fire that forced the Community of Lytle Creek out of their homes and into a Red Cross Shelter in Fontana. Paolo visited the shelter and immediately saw a need and provided meals for the clients and Red Cross shelter workers.

Grand Opening of Shops

Photo 1: The Cajon High School Jazz Band played during the ceremony and were the first to play live on the new stage.

Photo 2: Jim and Judy Watson (left and center) Developers, addressed the those gathering for the opening ceremonies. Fernando Dutra(right) Builder and Land Developer acted as the Master of Ceremonies during the event.

Photo 3: Ribbon cutting ceremony of the newly constructed “Shops at University Park”

Photo 4 Akram and Manak Chahine are the new owners of the Wayback Burgers, and this is their first restaurant. They are looking forward to serving the community.

Photo 5: Fernando Dutra President of Allwest Development Company (left) shows Henry Nickle Councilperson for the 5th Ward (right) the architectural renditions of The Shops at University Park, and the 2nd phase of construction that will include six new businesses in San Bernardino

Photo 6: From left-to-right, the crew of the new Jimmy John’s restaurant: Lizbeth, Paolo Tovar owner, Leslie, Monique, Hector, and Jisela