ANAHEIM — When Joel Slutzky picked up the newspaper Thursday to read about Walt Disney Co.'s proposed Westcot Center, his eyes skimmed past the futuristic images and focused on a block of property that he recognized immediately.
Inside the block, designated in dark blue ink, Slutzky found the address for his company, Odetics Inc., a manufacturer of robotic systems and tape recorders used in the space shuttle.
Disney wants to use the 14-acre property for one of three multistory parking structures.
"We were not very happy," said Slutzky, Odetics' chairman. "We didn't know this was coming."
Slutzky said a Disney representative telephoned his company Wednesday afternoon with a warning about the plan, but the chairman said he was unaware of the development's full scope until he read next day's newspaper.
"They (Disney) called our administrative manager and told us not to be shocked that our property (in the 1500 block of South Manchester Avenue) was where they wanted to build a parking lot," Slutzky said.
He said the company has never considered selling the property. "We called the city today (Friday) and suggested they better sit down and talk about this."
Odetics officials were angry enough that they issued a terse written statement Friday. It read: "Odetics' facilities were uniquely designed to accommodate the U.S. space program. Neither we nor our customers could tolerate any impact to our present commitments on critical national and international programs."
Disney Development Co. Vice President Kerry Hunnewell said Slutzky was warned as were several landowners and businesses whose properties sit in the footprints of the $3-billion proposed addition.
"The plan is a preliminary plan," Hunnewell said Friday. "This part of the master plan (parking areas) will have to be carefully studied by the (Anaheim) City Council. If this project is to proceed, these property owners have to be treated fairly."
Disney's preliminary plans, Hunnewell has said, call for the city to purchase a minimum of 50 acres for the three parking structures, which will provide spaces for about 28,000 cars.
Odetics' next-door neighbor is a small, four-story office building owned by lawyer George E. Atkinson Jr. of Paramount in Los Angeles County. The building is also included in the Disney parking area.
The 20-year-old building has been vacant about three years, according to real estate brokers, but Atkinson said through another broker Friday that "the building is not for sale."
"He's not going to tear it down," said broker Tim Shipley of Iliff Thorn & Co. He said Atkinson is firm about that, and is not trying to squeeze a high price out of Disney.
Meanwhile, the Grand Hotel, around the corner on Freedman Way, is apparently not slated to be torn down for parking under the Disney plan. It is up for sale, however, at a price of $28 million.
Disney has several times asked the investment group that owns the hotel about its availability, said Scott Perley, manager of the Irvine office of brokerage Cushman & Wakefield, which represents the owners.
No serious discussions have taken place, Perley said.
Meanwhile, Slutzky said any scenario that would require his company to move would be complicated.
"This is not a place where on a Saturday you could just move everything over to another place and open shop on Monday," Slutzky said. "This is going to be a very tough problem."