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CARSON : Mall Developers Claim Victory in Bid for Site

October 06, 1994|MARY GUTHRIE

Developers of the Metro 2000 site in Carson say they made the highest bid to buy the federal government's interest in the proposed outlet shopping mall.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. auctioned off $28 million in loans on the 157-acre site, which the government inherited when it took over Consolidated Savings & Loan of Irvine in 1986.

Until escrow closes on the deal in about 2 weeks, neither side will reveal the exact sales price.

"It's a substantial discount from the face value of the notes . . . we are very pleased," said Bob Sonnenblick, an investment banker who is one of the partners in the development.

FDIC officials would not confirm the buyers.

Investors in the project include Robert A. Ferrante, who owned the defunct savings and loan, and the Southern California Glaziers, Architectural Metal and Glass Workers Pension Fund, which Sonnenblick said financed last week's purchase of notes.

In December, 1993, the Carson City Council approved an agreement with a group of investors to provide special financing for development of an outlet shopping mall. Critics of the project have expressed concern about the cleanup of toxic waste on the property, formerly the Cal Compact landfill.

Sonnenblick estimated it would cost about $200 million to develop the site, including cleaning up the property. He said they have already solicited bids on the cleanup and would complete construction of the project in about 18 months.

Rich Varenchik of the state Department of Toxic Substances Control, which supervises cleanup of toxic materials on the site, said negotiations on the cleanup were continuing.

Metro 2000 is one of the largest undeveloped sites in Los Angeles County. It has been considered for a variety of projects, including a mobile-home park, office complexes and a football stadium.

The outlet mall is expected to include 225 manufacturer's factory outlet stores and 12 clearance centers for department stores, Sonnenblick said. More than 70% of the spaces are already leased, he said.

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