The City Council this week approved a deal that gives Fry's Electronics Inc. financial incentives to open a warehouse-style retail center in a vacant industrial building in the city, eventually creating 300 to 400 jobs.
The council voted 4 to 1 for a 21-year agreement clearing the way for Fry's, based in Palo Alto, to lease a 12.4-acre site at 3370 E. La Palma Ave. The 144,000-square-foot facility was formerly used by Rockwell International Corp. for manufacturing.
As part of the pact, the city will provide the electronics retailer with $5 million in sales tax rebates to help the company remodel the building. For its part, Fry's agreed to stay in Anaheim for at least 21 years.
Mayor Tom Daly defended the agreement after it drew some public criticism and was opposed by Councilman Tom Tait.
"It's an opportunity for Anaheim to revive a building that is basically dead," Daly said. "Right now, it's a huge old vacant building with no jobs and producing revenue for nobody. I think there are powerful reasons to approve this agreement.
"I think it will be an asset to the community of Anaheim. The business deal, as proposed, is a solid one."
Tait said he supports bringing new businesses to Anaheim but is not happy with details of the agreement with Fry's.
"Philosophically, I cannot support this," Tait said. Fry's, he said, was given "an unfair advantage over other existing businesses. I feel it creates an uneven playing field with the competition."