First Minority Firm Gets OK for Development : Major Office Building May Rise in L.B.

Community Correspondent

The Redevelopment Agency has approved a negotiating agreement with a developer to build a $7-million to $10-million office-commercial building just north of the civic center.

The agreement requires Cherry Hill Development Co. to deposit $100,000 with the agency as a sign of good faith. In return, the agency, which has received at least four proposals to develop the property since 1981, has agreed to stop trying to attract developers to the project. If no agreement is reached within 180 days, the money will probably be returned to the developer, said Roger Anderman, assistant director of the agency.

The firm is the first minority-owned one in Long Beach the city has negotiated with for development rights in the redevelopment area, said Larry Martin Hathorn, a partner in the venture and founder of the Minority Business Council for the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Hathorn, who is president of his 12-year-old firm, and his brother, Dwane, vice-president, are black.

'Nobody Special'

"I'm nobody special. I just persevere," said Hathorn, who began work on the development five years ago.

Hathorn envisions four office buildings, a total of about 60,000 square feet, with a first-floor restaurant and commercial space, and an adjacent, public parking garage with space for at least 230 cars.

The area is bounded by Broadway on the south, Pacific Avenue on the east, 3rd Street on the north and Solano Court on the west. Tentative plans call for cars to enter the garage from Pacific Avenue.

The development would replace an abandoned city street, now grassland, and a strip of mostly vacant commercial buildings, said assistant director Anderman, adding that the property was a prime target for redevelopment.

"Typically, bums sleep out there," he said.

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