by David DeMullé
Slow down! Listen to the calm as a modern-day renaissance comes to Foothill Blvd. The dream of owner David Tourje’ is fast coming to fruition. For nearly 25 years the old Security Pacific Bank building has sat behind its black covered sign at the intersection of Foothill Blvd. and Scoville Ave. Renters came and went, the building had many changes but nothing touched the massively solid structure of the bank building built of red brick and terrazzo floors.
Nothing that is until Alpha Structural founder David Tourje’ decided to create a a building worthy of a new and revitalized Foothill Blvd.. For decades, building owners came and went, cosmetic changes were made to existing buildings like the Back Door Bakery, The Ralphs Shopping Center the new office building across from Denny’s in Tujunga.
But none of them brought back the original character of what had once been a thriving business community driven by the dreams of people who had pride in our town.
And why wouldn’t someone like Tourje’ do something remarkable with his building? His company has been known for decades as the “go-to” place for seismic and hydro retrofitting in the Foothills region. With an average workforce of about 137 technicians, Alpha makes every job a restoration of not only what used to be, but of what it should have been.
His renovation of the Security Pacific building has a lot of significance to his family. His mother worked at Security Pacific Bank in its heyday and shared her memories with her son. As you walk through the emerging building, you see the new raw wood construction and the sand blasted red brick which gives the observer the feeling of being inside of an Architectural Digest magazine. Nothing has been left to chance. What David learned in his everyday structural retrofitting and creative analysis of how and where water flows at his retrofit job sites, he has brought to his re-creation of the old bank building.
I first learned of Alpha structural about the years ago when my neighbor plugged up a “Blue Water Line” (an underground waterway that is part of the Foothills Aquifer) and the water changed its flow path towards and under our foundation. Their technicians came out examined the situation and made recommendations on how to fix the situation. That’s when I learned about foundations. For years, everyone has talked about “earthquake retrofitting” but until my situation made it personal, I didn’t have the slightest clue of what it meant.
With anything that is new and revolutionary, there are hardships. The economy was one of them. The same economy that tanked in the 90’s also slowed down the growth of Alpha Structural also caused the building complex that they are moving into to go into disrepair.
As I toured his new offices, I asked him: What makes him different than any other retro-fitter? His answer was classic.
“What sets us apart is that we are authorized to engineer AND build. I have an art and design background in addition to construction, thus from the beginning I was redesigning many of the plans that were handed to me to build. I finally brought it in house in the early ‘90s and never looked back.”
And that’s where the term “Renaissance” comes in. Alpha Structural is bringing its creativity and its employees to Foothill Blvd. If you get a chance, drop on by their place at 8334 Foothill Boulevard in Sunland. It’s amazing.