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Lowe's Store Gets OK From Ventura Council

The home improvement center will open across from the Pacific View Mall in about a year.

December 11, 2002|Steve Chawkins | Times Staff Writer

By next December, Ventura will have a big-box home improvement store across from the Pacific View Mall under a plan unanimously approved by the City Council.

The 135,000-square-foot Lowe's store will be located on the site of a vacant Montgomery Ward store at Mills Road and Main Street in the city's busy midtown area.

Approval of the proposal Monday night capped a three-year effort by the city. Through the years, officials have complained about the hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual sales tax revenue flowing to neighboring Oxnard, the nearest location of a Home Depot.

However, some residents complained that the sites being considered for a similar store in Ventura were too close to residential areas and would increase congestion on already crowded roads.

Council members expressed few reservations about the Lowe's proposal Monday night.

"In a perfect world," Councilman Carl Morehouse said, Lowe's would build on a spot next to the Ventura Freeway, near the city's auto mall.

But he acknowledged that would be impossible because of high costs, including road improvements.

Bart Hollander, a Lowe's real estate executive, called the approval "a win-win-win for everyone involved."

Only two weeks ago, the deal appeared to be foundering. The council rejected a plan to bring in Lowe's because the site's owner, the Macerich Co., had failed to find an upscale retailer for one of three remaining spots on the property.

City officials had wanted a store such as Crate & Barrel instead of the drugstore Macerich tentatively had lined up.

Since then, Macerich has agreed to sell the entire 13-acre site to Lowe's for an undisclosed sum instead of holding on to the three smaller parcels. And Lowe's agreed to confer with the city on retailers for those spaces, giving the city an option to buy the sites in three years.

Only two residents spoke against the proposal Monday, objecting to pollution from delivery trucks and increased traffic.

Lowe's, the 13th-largest retailer in the U.S., has more than 825 stores and annual sales of $22 billion.

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