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Topics / BUSINESS : Monrovia Sees World Vision Loss as Opportunity

March 24, 1994|RENEE TAWA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

There is a silver lining to Monrovia's loss of 525 jobs in the announced departure of World Vision U.S.--the city will probably get property taxes from the tax-exempt charity's nine buildings, totaling $180,000 a year, city officials said.

Also, World Vision's departure will open up a piece of prime property--a 30,000-square-foot building along the Foothill Freeway near West Huntington Drive. City officials have high hopes for the corridor, which includes plans for an ice skating arena, Claim Jumper restaurant and Smith's Food and Drug Center.

"I'm very saddened that they're going," Mayor Robert Bartlett said. "But I think they also have some of the prime real estate in Monrovia. It won't be hard to market those properties for future development and put them on the tax rolls."

On March 15, World Vision officials announced plans to sell its buildings and leave the area for Seattle, citing the high cost of doing business in Southern California. World Vision, the third-largest employer in Monrovia, expects about 260 employees to make the move to Seattle. World Vision also owns a building in Pasadena and one in Duarte.

City officials said they mourn the loss of the internationally known charity but look forward to getting tax-paying businesses in the nine World Vision buildings.

"That allows us to bring in another high-quality employer who provides high-quality jobs to our residents," said City Manager Rod Gould. "That stimulates the local economy and generates substantial tax revenue. It could be we look back in five years and say, 'That wasn't such a loss but an opportunity we just realized.' "

World Vision officials said more than 30 callers already have expressed interest in some of the nine buildings. World Vision hopes to get as much as $14 million for all of the buildings by January, 1996.

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