College District Nears Accord to Lease Land

Times Staff Writer

Coast Community College District is nearing agreement on a land-lease deal in Fountain Valley that could bring the district up to $9.2 million over the next 20 years.

Chancellor David A. Brownell confirmed Tuesday that he will recommend tonight that the district trustees approve a tentative agreement with Newport Development Co. The company proposes to build four single-story buildings for small businesses and light industry and a three-story office building on district-owned land at Warner Avenue and Newhope Street in Fountain Valley.

The company would share part of its profits from business and office rents with the college district, Brownell said. The result could be an income of up to $9.2 million over the next 20 years, he said.

Behind College Center

The 5.5-acre site is behind the Coastline Community College Center, a once-controversial, four-story administration building at the corner of Warner and Newhope.

When the district board of trustees authorized the $5.8-million structure early in the 1980s, critics called it a waste of money. But supporters, including Brownell, said the building would not be an expense to district taxpayers. The latest development plan would generate money to pay for the structure.

The College Center, which houses offices of the college president and other administrators, a television studio and bookstore, was dedicated Feb. 9, 1984. No classes are taught there; Coastline, which calls itself "the college without a campus," rents buildings for its classes all over the Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley areas.

"We had always planned to develop the land behind the center, but until recently high interest rates have not been attractive to development," Brownell said Tuesday. He said the district received the proposal from the Newport Development Co. in late 1985.

Light Industrial Zone

Dennis Knudsen, company vice president, said Tuesday that the land already is zoned for light industry and that the business and office structures his company proposes would mesh well with the "clean industries" of Fountain Valley.

"We would be providing offices for the small, independent businessmen who can't afford to be in Irvine, or perhaps don't want to be there because they live in Fountain Valley," Knudsen said. The four, single-story buildings would be on the Newhope Street side of the property and would total about 40,000 square feet of office space.

The three-story office building, Knudsen said, would be on the Warner Avenue side. Knudsen said construction could begin within the next six to eight months.

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