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Community Digest

Whittier : 2 Last-Minute Glitches Cast Doubt on Shopping Center

October 11, 1990

Two last-minute glitches have jeopardized a major redevelopment project, the Whittier Station Center.

At Tuesday's meeting of the Redevelopment Agency, the developer's representatives announced they would not be able to conform to two agreed-upon conditions. As a result, city officials are considering whether they want to go forward with project at all.

The Encino-based developer, Urbatec, cannot provide an upscale food market as the company had agreed, attorney Mark Novak said. In its place, Urbatec can offer a discount market that operates in more of a warehouse setting. Novak said that having to make the substitution is as distressing and surprising to Urbatec as it is to the city.

In addition, Urbatec said its lender would not approve a financial agreement made by the city and Urbatec. As a result, the developer cannot use the shopping center land as security for funds advanced by the city.

The city has committed $7 million in bonds to the controversial project. For its part, Urbatec has borrowed $12.8 million, which the city has already used to acquire the needed property. The city has relocated a historic railroad depot from the site. In addition, the city has hired an archeologist in hopes of verifying that the site is not an American Indian burial ground, as a handful of local activists have claimed.

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