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Duarte Making 'Lemonade' Out of Autoplex

June 28, 1990

The saying goes "if it rains lemons, make lemonade." The city of Duarte and the Duarte Redevelopment Agency are definitely making lemonade. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Times focused on the "lemons."

On Sunday, June 17, the San Gabriel Valley section ran an article titled "Duarte Ends Up With Lemon in Autoplex." The article highlighted the negative aspects of the Duarte Autoplex/Educational Park Project, without giving fair coverage to the positive prospects.

In terms of the closure of Duarte Nissan, Suzuki and Isuzu, The Times failed to indicate the setback is only temporary and that five serious, qualified dealers are bidding on this, the premier auto sales site along the 210 Freeway. We are confident a new dealer will make the site profitable soon. In fact, Toyota of Duarte and Duarte Mitsubishi are exceeding expectations in their nearby locations.

With respect to the indefinite postponement of the Subaru and Volkswagen dealerships, the development agreements very specifically protect Duarte to ensure the development of auto dealerships on that site. A number of dealerships have expressed strong interest, indicating that the Duarte Autoplex continues to be an attractive location for the auto industry.

The Times article also pointed to the fact that Ford, Acura and Infiniti dealerships canceled plans to build at the old Northview Middle School. Although this is true, better opportunities and alternatives have come along.

Negotiations are under way for a regional commercial development which will include a dinner-style restaurant and preservation of the historic School District Administration building. This retail/commercial approach makes more sense because the city will be able to recoup its investment twice as fast, our revenue base will be diversified and convenient shopping opportunities will be provided.

Rather than magnify the "lemons," The Times article should have focused on the sweetest ingredient in the lemonade: the Duarte Autoplex/Duarte Educational Park Project.

In the last three years, the city of Duarte has worked diligently with the Duarte Unified School District to complete an ambitious, innovative $15.5-million Duarte Educational Park Project, composed of a new School Administration Center, a new maintenance facility, a new warehouse facility, a state-of-the-art Intermediate School and nearly completed 500-seat Civic Auditorium. This project has been made possible by the success of the Duarte Autoplex.

Instead of comparing Duarte to Monrovia, The Times should fairly view the current situation. We are happy for Monrovia's success but we are also very happy with our own prospects.

JOHN FASANA, Duarte mayor

JOHN C. VAN DOREN, chairman,

Duarte Redevelopment Agency

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