Lottery Picks Whittier for Ticket Center : LOTTERY: Whittier to Be Storage Center for Tickets

Times Staff Writer

Beginning in September, millions of tickets for California's first state lottery will be stored in a warehouse in Whittier.

State officials have agreed to lease the 54,000-square-foot warehouse and adjoining offices at 10050 Mission Mill Road from Oltmans Construction Co., which owns the vacant building. The facility will serve as the Southern California headquarters for the $1-billion-a-year lottery, which is to start in October.

During the first month, state officials predict that more than 400 million lottery tickets will be sold statewide at 20,000 outlets. About 60% of all the tickets will be stored and processed at the Whittier location.

October Start Date

Voters overwhelmingly approved the lottery last November. But a series of delays in appointing the five-member California Lottery Commission--which decides the kinds of games that will be played, how high individual prizes will be and which retailers sell tickets--put off the start-up of the game to October.

Charles Olver, an architectural consultant for the Lottery Commission, said in a telephone interview from Sacramento that the commission agreed to a 10-year lease--at $212,280 a year--for the Whittier warehouse, which is just west of Rose Hills Memorial Park along the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway. He said the commission will take occupancy Aug. 1, with lottery officials moving in by early September.

If all goes well, the first shipments of tickets should arrive there by the middle of that month.

Olver said the commission plans to spend up to $500,000 modifying the warehouse, with a majority of that money going for a sophisticated security system. He said Oltmans will design the security system. "There's no question security is crucial to any facility storing lottery tickets," Olver said.

Access Limited

While declining to discuss specifics of the system, Oltmans Vice President Basil Johnson said access to tickets will be restricted both from the outside and the building's business offices.

At the same time lottery officials were signing the Whittier deal, a separate agreement was reached with a Sacramento firm for a 100,000-square-foot building about a mile from the state Capitol. The Sacramento facility, including 40,000 square feet of office and computer space, will be the statewide lottery headquarters, Olver said.

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