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Gotcha Glacier Asks Anaheim for New Delay

Development: CEO says more time is needed to get financing but that recreation complex will be built.

August 09, 2000|JUDY SILBER and LESLIE EARNEST | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Backers of the proposed indoor sports center Gotcha Glacier have asked the city for more time to secure financing and begin building the $130-million structure on the parking lot of Edison International Field, Anaheim officials say.

Gotcha Glacier LLC is requesting a three-month extension on its agreement with the city, said Elisa Stipkovich, Anaheim's redevelopment director.

The latest extension, which the City Council is expected to approve Aug. 22, would cost Glacier $100,000. It has already paid $200,000 to the city for three previous extensions.

Glacier Chief Executive Brad Kinney said the project will be built. He declined to comment about the financing, except to say that it is "progressing very well" and that keeping costs down "has been a constant effort."

"We have approximately 250 full-time people working on the project at this time," including 34 lawyers, he said.

Construction could begin "in the next couple months," he said. "We're just finalizing some long, complicated contracts. But we have all green lights."

Kinney said 90% of the project's 197,000 square feet of leasable space is either already leased or in the final stages of lease negotiations.

The city also remains optimistic that the project eventually will be built, spokesman Bret Colson said. Anaheim officials have said that delays are understandable, given the magnitude and unique nature of the project, which includes indoor snowboarding, wave pools, rock climbing and skateboarding, as well as stores and restaurants.

"It takes time for these kinds of things to mature," Colson said. "I think, overall, we're pretty pleased with the progress that's been made on that project."

But Mayor Tom Daly was cautious about assessing whether Glacier executives will be able to arrange the necessary financing.

"I believe the project can happen," he said, "but I understand that financing something this innovative is a challenge."

If the project collapses, Anaheim can use the site for developing hotels and office buildings or recreational uses, he said.

The fact that Glacier has continued to spend money on engineers, architects, soil tests and attorney's fees is a good indicator, said Stipkovich, the city's redevelopment director.

"If we didn't think there was any possibility of going forward, we would not be looking at an extension," Stipkovich said.

There are no limits to the number of extensions that can be granted, Colson said.

Kinney declined to predict whether another extension will be needed.

"You never know," he said. "The bottom line is we're building the project."

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