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Auto Mall Plan for Signal Hill OKd by Council

December 19, 1985

SIGNAL HILL — The City Council has given its unanimous blessing to a tentative agreement that would allow a group of Long Beach auto dealers to move to a 26-acre auto mall planned along the San Diego Freeway.

The council also voted unanimously Tuesday night to begin buying property for the auto center.

Officials expect to have a final development agreement hammered out by the end of March. If all goes according to plan, the auto mall could be open by mid-1987.

Signal Hill officials predict the city will pay about $24 million to buy land for the mall, finance relocation of existing businesses on the site and fund improvements such as street paving and lighting. In return, the auto dealers would pay about $10.5 million over a seven-year period for the land.

Four Dealers 'Signed'

Four Long Beach auto dealers have committed themselves to moving to the mall, which would be bounded by Spring and 28th streets and Cherry and Junipero avenues.

Those dealers are James Willingham, owner of Boulevard Buick, Lincoln-Mercury, British Saab and GMC Trucks; Long Beach Honda Car; Robert Autrey, owner of C. Bob Autrey Mazda and Long Beach BMW; and Mike Salta, who owns M.F. Salta AMC, Mitsubishi and Pontiac.

In addition, four other dealers are considering joining the venture. If that happens, the city would likely purchase an additional seven acres just south of 28th Street to help house the additional dealerships, officials said.

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