The City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency, has adopted a resolution establishing the city's intent to condemn certain leasehold interests at the Norwalk Shopping Center in order to expedite relocation of tenants.
But city officials stressed that they will continue to negotiate with tenants to clear the way for a new $6-million shopping center on the corner of Firestone and Pioneer boulevards. There are about 10 stores at the current center, including J.J. Newberry, Lang's Stationers and Le Pante Beauty College.
The resolution was necessary because it "does indicate the agency means business," said Michael J. Wagner, redevelopment director. The threat of condemnation also produces additional tax benefits for property owners and tenants.
The agency approved an agreement in August with Hopkins Development Co. to build a 10-acre shopping center on the site with a supermarket and 50,000 square feet of retail space for smaller stores. The project--one of the first in the city that will displace business tenants--will see the now-closed Coast Grain Co. and shopping center razed.
Wagner said it is the city's responsibility to relocate tenants and deliver the empty property to Hopkins in March for demolition. Because of the tight time schedule, he said, "we really have to chug along" in case a tenant does not want to move.