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Pomona Told Trade Center Promoter Is Still Trying

February 25, 1988|JEFFREY MILLER | Times Staff Writer

POMONA — City Administrator A. J. Wilson announced this week that he has met with H. Thomas Felvey, promoter of the uncertain Inland Pacific World Trade Center project, and that Felvey said he is trying to line up a partner for the $96-million venture but as yet has no firm commitments.

Felvey, who presented the proposal for the 12-story office, hotel and retail complex to the city in 1985, has until May 1 to reach agreement with a partner who will secure $100 million in bonds issued by the city last year.

Felvey has been seeking new backers for the center since November, when the Birtcher development firm withdrew from the project.

Feb. 16 Meeting

Wilson, who was hired Feb. 1, said he began trying to reach Felvey on his first day as city administrator. Wilson said he had a meeting with Felvey on Feb. 16, when the promoter said he was still negotiating with a major development firm to provide backing for the project.

Wilson said he expects Felvey to contact him again soon to update him on the status of the project.

"I'm just waiting for him to call," Wilson said. "I suspect that if he doesn't find somebody in the month of March, it would be difficult for him to meet the other deadlines (for finalizing a financing agreement)."

City officials have said the fate of the World Trade Center, which many had hoped would be an economic boon to Pomona, hinges on Felvey's ability to find a reputable partner for the project.

Council Skeptical

Although Felvey was the catalyst behind the proposal, council members have expressed skepticism about his involvement with the venture since last May, when it was revealed that the promoter had failed to answer 12 lawsuits stemming from unpaid debts and abandoned projects and plaintiffs were award default judgments.

If Felvey does not meet the May 1 deadline, ownership of the 4.6-acre downtown parcel will transfer to Kajima International Inc., which paid $1 million for the land last year. Kajima would have five years to build a project worth at least $10 million on the site. Otherwise, the land would revert to the city's Redevelopment Agency.

In a memo to the City Council, Wilson said the search for a new trade center partner "requires every effort (by the city), since the size of the project would reduce in scope significantly should (Felvey) default."

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