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South Pasadena : City Hall Site Buyer Found

June 12, 1986

The city has found a buyer for its surplus city hall site at El Centro and Meridian avenues. Los Angeles-based LYW Development Co. Investment has agreed to pay $1,050,000 for the property, where it plans to build a 65-unit senior citizens housing complex.

Controversy, which surrounded the city's purchase of the site for more than $1.1 million in 1981, continues to plague the property.

Thomas Stagen, whose Beverly Hills real estate and development firm was the highest bidder for the El Centro property, said he is considering legal action against the city because his firm was not granted the property.

Stagen bid $1,067,500 for the property, on which he planned to build 78 units of senior citizens housing. Although Stagen offered to match LYW's 65-unit density proposal, City Councilman James Hodge said the LYW deal was more attractive because the units would be larger and because the city would receive its money faster.

A local group consisting of Goodyear Realty and El Centro Investments offered the low bid, $981,500.

From the start, the El Centro property has been nothing but trouble for city fathers. The city was criticized for paying too much for the El Centro site, and voters eventually rejected plans to build a new city hall there. Former Mayor AlvaLee Arnold was defeated in a reelection bid two years ago largely because of her support for the civic center proposal.

The city plans to use the money from the proceeds of the El Centro sale to help pay for the remodeling and expansion of the existing City Hall.

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