A deal between the city and a Mission Viejo company to develop the block across the street from the Hilton hotel in the Uptown business district has collapsed.
In December, the City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency, approved a 90-day exclusive negotiating agreement with the Vanderbilt Group to plan a multilevel office and retail complex at Penn Street and Greenleaf Avenue. City officials consider that block crucial because it is the entrance to Uptown from Whittier Boulevard.
Since then, the Vanderbilt Group has failed to hold up its end of the bargain, which included meeting with local business leaders, starting negotiations with property owners on the block and providing financial information about the company, said Robert Griego, deputy director of the Redevelopment Agency.
Because of the developer's inaction and increased interest in post-earthquake construction in the Uptown area, Griego said, the Redevelopment Agency voted to drop the agreement with the Vanderbilt Group and ask for other proposals for the block.
Griego speculated that the developer underestimated the difficulty of recruiting tenants for the project. Officials of the Vanderbilt Group did not return calls.