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Corona Business Park Project Overcomes Odds : Developer Averted Condemnation Action by U. S. in Prado Dam Basin by Recontouring Low-Lying Land

September 27, 1987|BARNETT SUSSMAN | Sussman is a Times real estate writer

" If you can't lower the water, raise the land."

With that advice, Steven R. Strauss, vice president of Pacesetter Business Properties, helped make it possible to develop the $100-million, 78-acre Pacesetter/Corona Industrial Park.

The park is the largest of the 26 industrial developments under construction or planned in Corona.

Initial construction will begin in December with a $10-million, 200,000-square-foot headquarters and warehouse for King Bearing Inc. One of Pacesetter's original problems was that the northwestern boundary of the property was next to Prado Dam and below the minimum height necessary to accommodate high water. Another problem was that the original property line did not follow the land's contours.

"We determined that by straightening the property line through an exchange of equal amounts of land, we could grade the resulting property so that it would be above the minimum," Strauss said.

In 1984, when Pacesetter had an opportunity to purchase what was then a farm, the land was being considered for condemnation by the federal government.

In addition to the challenges of the dam, Pacesetter also had to master-plan its project so that sewer lines being installed by the developer of the nearby Corona Commerce Center would conform to planned roads in Pacesetter's project. Pacesetter also had to negotiate with Newport Beach-based Hampton Oil Corp., owner of rights to drill anywhere on the property. Drilling was finally confined to one small area.

Another obstacle was that annexation to the City of Corona could not be accomplished until the new property line was approved by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers which, together with the U. S. Bureau of Land Management, administers the Prado Flood Control Basin.

Finally last December, the property line was approved, the property was annexed to Corona, escrow closed--and the government saved about $2 million that might have been necessary for condemnation.

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