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Community Digest

Whittier : Agency Sues Developer in Fight Over Shopping Center

December 06, 1990

The Whittier Redevelopment Agency has filed suit against the developer of a 16-acre shopping center just west of the city's center. The suit was filed in response to a preliminary injunction obtained by the developer to prevent the agency from canceling its contract.

The suit alleges that Urbatec failed to meet numerous terms of the agreement to build the Whittier Station Center, a 20-store shopping complex that is to be anchored by a major grocery store.

Hank Cunningham, assistant city manager for community development, said the agency is not happy with a Superior Court judge's ruling that the agency cannot stipulate what kind of market should anchor the Whittier Station Center.

The agency and the planned developer, Urbatec, have been embroiled in a legal battle because city leaders said Urbatec officials falsely promised them a Market Basket grocery store, when in fact a Food 4 Less is planned for the center.

Urbatec officials have argued that although they had planned to anchor the center with a Market Basket, the owners of Market Basket, Quality Foods International, have refused to build the upscale store, saying that their market studies show that the warehouse-style Food 4 Less would do more business.

Cunningham said that if the judge's ruling allows Urbatec to place a Food 4 Less in the center, then environmental impact and traffic studies may have to be redone.

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