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Preschool expands, now that next-door bar is out of the way

For the past few years, the owners of Little Prodigy Preschool and Daycare Center have had to grapple with the fact that the preschool was situated near a bar.

Now, Little Prodigy no longer faces that problem.

The bar's recent exit is just one component of the major renovation that the Sylvan Plaza strip mall has recently undergone. The renovation involved expanding Little Prodigy and nearby Himalayan Kitchen restaurant, adjusting each unit's exterior and remodeling a section of the parking lot.

"Our goal was to bring it up to standards," Sylvan Plaza landlord and Little Prodigy co-owner Cyrus Parvini said of the plaza.

His wife, Little Prodigy co-owner Simin Parvini, said she and her husband bought off the owners of the Office Bar, putting an end to the multi-year dispute over the handling of the bar's lease. Simin Parvini declined to disclose the sum transacted between the two parties.

Efforts to contact the former owners of the Office Bar were not immediately successful.

The Parvinis' daughter, Little Prodigy co-owner and director Tina Golestani, said that no kids enrolled in the preschool had any dangerous run-ins with bar patrons because the bar was mostly active after school hours. However, according to Golestani, bar customers did walk around the plaza while intoxicated and smoked during school hours. Golestani said this behavior was not conducive to a family-friendly atmosphere.

The space previously occupied by the Office Bar now belongs to Tiger Martial Arts Academy.

The preschool expanded into space occupied by Shin Shin Computer and Salon d' Elegance. Those businesses vacated the plaza when their leases expired, according to the Parvinis. On June 23, four days after plaza renovations were completed, the first class sessions took place within the new buildings.

The expansion of Little Prodigy increased the capacity of the school from 77 students to 151 students, accommodating the growing wait list, Parvini said. The Parvinis said they anticipate hiring more teachers ahead of its fall session that starts in mid-August.

The expansion into the two vacant spaces has also required the preschool to expand its playground to connect the old building with the new one.

The growth of the preschool didn't win unanimous support. City Council member John Inks said that the preschool expansion earned some skepticism because some residents and officials thought the space should go to a company that sells products. Inks, however, supported the expansion.

"A high-quality day care is in big demand here," Inks said.

According to Cyrus Parvini, Inks visited Sylvan Plaza after the renovation and was impressed with the changes. Inks said he particularly enjoyed seeing a mural in the preschool complex that he thought would make an impression on the young students.

"They will remember that wall for the rest of their lives," Inks said.

Little Prodigy Preschool is not the only business within Sylvan Plaza that's expanding. Himalayan Kitchen, a restaurant on the other side of the plaza, will expand to include the space adjacent to it and has closed its doors for two weeks starting July 28.

According to the Parvinis, residents who live behind the plaza have expressed delight to them over the changes and have said that their property values have gone up.

"Now they're walking and enjoying this area and are very happy," Cyrus Parvini said of the neighbors.

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