Most of Atlantic Square is to be leveled, to rise anew, this in the hopes of improving the quality services of our community, and to draw not only local shoppers, but also from surrounding communities. This investment is expected to yield for the city much needed property and sales tax dollars.
This redevelopment is an opportunity for Monterey Park to develop a beautiful and attractive shopping center--one that would entice shoppers because of its structural theme (Mediterranean) and quality goods. Buildings structured to complement the tenant's purpose, such as a restaurant, or a grocery store, or a sporting goods store, and not set in a linear structure along the strip, would attract tenants and shoppers alike.
Approximately two years ago Bob Champion, of Champion developers, submitted a development proposal to Monterey Park. He has during this time romanced the city into believing a cheap linear strip center, with the existing Thrifty drugstore, and a potential Ralphs market, and a possible national advertising "Big 5" sporting goods store as anchors for a possible 72 other tenants along this narrow strip of land, would yield the much needed property and sales tax revenue.
The developer's proposal totally ignores the environmental impact on adjacent residential properties. The sound level of trucks and the impact of truck traffic as it adversely affects home parking for those homes located behind the center on Riggin and Gerhart is not considered. To alleviate truck maneuvering, this proposal calls for red curbing on the residential side of Gerhart, leaving only driveway or garage parking for these homes. Here property value would plummet.
For a shopping center such as this, Monterey Park will absorb this expense with little or no development control and with no significant change in property and sales tax revenue, since out of (spaces for) 72 stores, as we can plainly see around the city, too many vacancies will exist. That variances may be obtained, developers in the past have promised city officials time after time that quality stores and restaurants would tenant their development, only to realize disappointment. City officials must enjoy a closer relationship with developers and potential tenants alike. City representatives must be an integral part in the exploration of potential tenants. Our tax dollars must be protected by a sound contract containing appropriate penalties for excessive construction delays.
The City Council has scheduled a public hearing addressing the Atlantic Square issue. This hearing is to be held in the City Council Chambers next Monday at 7:30 p.m.
This shopping center must be interesting and of quality. The city staff, planning commission and council must be made to understand Monterey Park must compete with Alhambra and Montebello. Monterey Park needs a quality shopping center. Let us seek proposals of greater quality.
ROGER A. BETTS