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WATTS : Office-Restaurant Project Delayed


Construction of a major office-and-restaurant development to be built in Watts is being delayed from this summer until October, while developers await approval from the Community Redevelopment Agency.

Developers of the 20,724-square-foot complex, heralded as the first such complex built in Watts since the 1965 riots, said they are awaiting approval of drawings, according to Keith Dillard, project manager with the Westminster Neighborhood Assn.

The complex will house the offices of American Savings Bank, Founders National Bank and several city agencies, including the city's Community Redevelopment Agency site office for Watts.

"Most of the offices are pre-leased," said Chuck Sifuentes, a spokesman for the redevelopment agency. "This is symbolic of the revitalization of Watts. For example, you have two new banks in an area that banks have traditionally underserved."

The $2.7-million project is being funded by the AFL-CIO Housing and Building Investment Trust, with additional money coming from the redevelopment agency and the federal government.

The project will include a 2,700-square-foot landscaped courtyard and a Watts branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Sifuentes said the project will be built on the last parcel of land available within the 107-acre Watts redevelopment project area established during the 1960s.

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