Buena Park Seeks a New Developer for Freeway Center


City officials hope to jump-start a $40-million freeway commercial project that recently stalled when the center’s developer, TRF Development Corp., bowed out of the deal.

As part of its redevelopment efforts, the City Council chose the Irvine-based company in 1990 to develop the 25-acre project, touted as a “power retail center.”

Plans called for three major retailers, restaurants and several hotels to run along a section of the Santa Ana Freeway near Artesia Street and Manchester Boulevard. However, after more than a year of planning, TRF announced in September that it couldn’t complete the center, leaving the city to search of a replacement.

“TRF was not able to achieve financing,” said Tom Lynch, the city’s director of developmental services.


Company officials, who refused to elaborate on the decision, blamed their failure on the recession. “We were quite a ways into the project,” said Larry Dodd, vice president of development. “But due to the present market conditions, we just felt we couldn’t continue.”

In fact, during the past year TRF had taken several steps to complete the freeway center, including negotiating with potential tenants, presenting architectural plans to the city and even choosing a name--the Buena Park Faire.

Once again, the 25-acre parcel--considered prime real estate because portions are located next to the freeway--is up for grabs. More than 250,000 square feet of the parcel has been earmarked for retail and commercial space.

During the past year, the city has been busy buying up land in the area to make way for the center. Forty properties are being acquired, including 13 single-family homes and six rental units.


While no money was lost up front, the delay means it will be even longer before the city budget can start cashing in on some of the tax money the project is expected to generate. According to city staff calculations, the center would generate annual revenue of about $1.1 million, money desperately needed to cover a budget deficit.

Three developers are negotiating with the city.