SANTA FE SPRINGS — The City Council has threatened to do battle with the federal government over 63.5 acres of property that a federal agency controls in the heart of the city's industrial area.
The council has warned federal officials that it will use its condemnation power to seize the property if the federal agency doesn't sell it to the city.
The land west of Shoemaker Avenue and north of Florence Avenue is held by the Resolution Trust Corp., the federal agency that liquidates the assets of troubled financial institutions.
City officials say they want the property for commercial development. They said they offered $7.5 million, but Resolution Trust officials rejected the offer.
Growing tired of waiting, City Council members approved a resolution last month authorizing officials to begin proceedings to condemn the land. But no deadline was set for the city to take action.
Resolution Trust attorney Max Lieberman said officials thought the city's offer was too low. The agency has since arranged an appraisal of the property, and hopes to resume talks with the city once the appraisal is complete, Lieberman said.
City Planning and Development Director Robert Orpin acknowledged that the agency "seems to be more cooperative the last couple of weeks than it has been the last couple of months."
Orpin said the city wants control of the property in part to allow a Santa Fe Springs company to expand rather than move away. If the company, Shaw Industries, can't relocate on a 17-acre portion of the property, it may move out of the city, Orpin said.
City officials said they fear that if the city does not acquire the property, it might be purchased by an investment firm that might hold it for several years until real estate prices go up, then sell.
Resolution Trust had taken control of the property from Old Stone Bank of Providence, R.I., which had purchased the land in 1988.