Despite a dismal climate for development, the construction of a large commercial and entertainment center in Calabasas may get under way as early as late fall, the project's developer said this week.
A construction loan and lengthy negotiations between developer Pazar Associates Inc. and potential tenants of the planned shopping center, which includes an eight-theater movie house, a restaurant, supermarket, retail stores and a day-care center on the southeast corner of Las Virgenes and Agoura roads, may be wrapped up within about a month, Pazar President Pamela Azar said.
Calabasas officials approved the 190,000-square-foot project last November, making it the first development permitted by the fledgling city.
"It took about six years to go through the process of getting everything approved, first with the county and then with the city," Azar said.
"But what took that long to be approved is not going to be built in six months, and people have to understand that."
Calabasas City Manager Charles Cate said most residents and city officials seem to be looking forward to the opening of the only movie theaters in town and a shopping center on the vacant, 12-acre parcel.
Most concerns on the design and traffic impact of the project were worked out during months of meetings between the developer and citizen committees, Cate said.
The city could also reap millions of dollars in sales tax revenues from the shopping center in coming decades, he said.
"The tone and texture of the buildings are intended to blend into the natural setting of the area," Azar said. "We like to see this project as something that was really crafted by the community, to be turned into what we hope will be the heartbeat of the city."