The City Council on Monday awarded a contract to the O'Campo Corp. to build a $1.9-million National Guard Armory at Atlantic and Bandini boulevards, paving the way for a transfer of federal property to the city. The armory, a 45,000-square-foot building that will be used to train guardsmen, is expected to be completed by the end of August, City Administrator Byron Woosley said.
On its completion, about six acres of federal land adjacent to the armory will be transferred to the city's Redevelopment Agency, according to the terms of an agreement signed with the federal government in May, 1983, Woosley said.
The land agreement had been negotiated by former City Administrator John Pitts, who pleaded guilty last year to participating in a racketeering scheme at the California Bell Club, a card casino. Pitts testified in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in December that he had negotiated for the federal property in order to secure land for a second poker club in the city. Pitts testified that he had promised a license for a second club to two club partners who were illegally holding his shares in the California Bell Club.
Woosley, who replaced Pitts as city administrator last year, emphasized this week that "a card club is not what we want" on the six acres near Atlantic and Bandini boulevards. The land will be held open for bids from commercial and industrial developers, he said.
Councilman Ray Johnson cast the only vote against the armory contract, arguing that the money could be better spent on redevelopment in the deteriorating downtown areas.