Plans to build a Price Club discount store and shopping area on the corner of Commonwealth and Palm avenues in Alhambra have been temporarily shelved because of problems in the soil at the site.
City Manager Kevin Murphy said that under an arrangement with DN & E Walters, a San Francisco-based developer who owns the land, the city was to purchase the parcel and then sell it to the Price Co., owner of the Price Club chain. But the agreement with the Price Co. specified that the city would pay the cost of cleaning up the soil under any unusual circumstances.
During preliminary work on the site last month, city engineers said they thought they smelled gasoline emanating from test bores at depths of 8 and 23 feet. Engineers reported their findings to the city on Feb. 23 and work was suspended.
Murphy said the city terminated its arrangement with Price Co. last week. He said that although further tests were needed to determine the extent of contamination, the city "could not go out on a limb, not knowing what amount we had to come up with to clean up the location."
The DN & E Walters board will decide next week whether to develop a shopping area on the site or to put it up for sale, in which case the city will take part in negotiations with Price. Murphy said that if the firm built a shopping center on the site, it would generate as much in sales tax revenue for the city as the Price Club store--an estimated $800,000 a year.