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San Gabriel Valley

Officials Withdraw Plan for Complex at Racetrack

May 01, 1996

Citing community opposition and financial exposure, Santa Anita Park in Arcadia has withdrawn its controversial plan for a $100-million entertainment complex in the horse racing track's huge parking lot, promising instead to propose another project later, track officials said Tuesday.

Santa Anita Realty Enterprises' project manager informed Arcadia officials that the company is withdrawing its application to the city and is reassessing the circumstances under which it would be willing to proceed with development of the 120-acre south parking lot.

"We are reevaluating things based on a number of circumstances," said Santa Anita Vice President Clifford C. Goodrich. "We certainly plan on coming back with something different this year."

The massive 1.5 million square feet of construction has become increasingly less desirable as opposition in the community has mounted.

A drive by neighbors to put approval of the project to a citywide vote had been launched and the prospect of expensive conditions being placed on the project by the city was gaining.

"At the time of our initial submittal and until just recently, we had hoped and believed that the plan we submitted would address the needs of Arcadia and would be welcomed by the community," Tom D. Austin, a Santa Anita vice president, wrote in a letter to the city.

Arcadia officials were taken by surprise. "It was very sudden. It was a bolt out of the blue," said Donna Butler, city community development administrator.

In late 1994, Santa Anita proposed building by the end of 1997 an entertainment village complete with a 25-screen movie theater, an auditorium, an IMAX theater, a skating arena, fast food outlets, shops and restaurants. . . .

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