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Defunct Auto Plant to Be Industry Center

February 09, 1986

If 1982 was a year that the industrial city of South Gate would rather forget, Tuesday may be the start of much better times for the devastated community located about 10 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the city's redevelopment agency concludes the $12-million sale to Goldrich & Kest Industries and Sheldon Appel Co. Inc., joint-venture developers of the 90-acre site now occupied by a former General Motors assembly plant.

The developers plan to transform the tract into an $80-million retail and industrial center that is expected to bring about 3,000 new jobs to the city when it is completed in 1992.

Bargain to City

Despite its location in the so-called Sun Belt, South Gate went through the kind of agony well known in the Rust Belt when GM permanently closed the plant in March, 1982, throwing many highly paid auto workers out of work in the middle of a recession.

General Motors had placed a value of $32 million on the property at 2700 Tweedy Blvd., but the company offered it to the city of South Gate as a bargain sale/donation to promote economic redevelopment in the area, according to Bruce Boogaard, South Gate city attorney and a member of the team that negotiated the deal.

The developers plan to construct 1.5 million square feet of industrial, light-manufacturing and retail distribution facilities and a 13-acre shopping center, badly needed in this area adjacent to Watts.

Under the agreement, about 18 acres of the site will be resold to TELACU (The East Los Angeles Community Union), a minority-owned industrial developer, to develop 25% of the industrial acreage.

Demolition of the existing 1.7-million-square-foot, 50-year-old plant is scheduled to begin in April, taking about 13 months.

Model Development

"This is an unusually large site to be available so near to downtown Los Angeles and we look forward to the opportunities it provides for the model development of a large-scale commercial and industrial center bringing new business to South Gate," according to Jona Goldrich, chief executive officer of Goldrich & Kest Industries, Culver City.

Both Goldrich & Kest and the Santa Monica-based Appel firm have been responsible for numerous commercial and residential projects. The two firms are currently developing the former site of Long Beach General Hospital as the $50-million Long Beach-Signal Hill Business Center.

"The sale has provided South Gate with a tremendous stimulus for economic growth and the return of jobs," said South Gate Mayor William DeWitt. "It was the product of a fortunate series of events that included GM's desire to give something back to the community, and the ability of the developers to proceed immediately with an innovative commercial/industrial plan for the site."

Helped Find Buyer

Cushman & Wakefield, a major real estate firm, assisted the city in finding the purchaser.

"We are both pleased and excited to have played a part in turning a surplus industrial facility into a better opportunity for everyone involved," said John S. Renard, president of Cushman & Wakefield Western Inc. The firm has had a 20-year relationship with General Motors.

The site is bounded by Tweedy Boulevard on the north, Alameda Street on the west, Seminole Avenue on the south and an alley east of Santa Fe Avenue on the east. It is within seven miles of eight freeways, the nearest to be the Century Freeway, under construction and expected to be completed by 1993.

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