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Plans for Saturn Car Dealership, Shopping Center Are Approved : Construction: Palmdale City Council, acting as redevelopment agency, endorses agreements.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A Saturn automobile dealership is slated to open as early as May at the Antelope Valley Auto Center in Palmdale, and the city also has a large shopping center on the way.

The City Council, acting as the redevelopment agency, on Wednesday approved an agreement with Jerry Lockhart, a Las Vegas certified public accountant, for the opening of the popular General Motors subsidiary at the 65-acre auto center, which is only about 40% developed.

“We’re very pleased, proud to have you here,” Mayor Jim Ledford told Lockhart, who was in town for the council meeting. “We look forward to a fruitful relationship.”

The agency on Wednesday also approved, without discussion, an agreement with Forest City Commercial Development, builder of the Antelope Valley Mall, for the construction of a large shopping center that must be anchored by a warehouse store such as Price/Costco.

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The 460,000-square-foot center is to be built at 10th Street West and Avenue P-8. It is the site of what was to be a $50-million retail center developed as a joint venture of Watt Commercial Development and Dean Witter Realty which never came to fruition.

Forest City Commercial Development has regained ownership of the Palmdale Marketplace property, just a couple blocks from the regional mall it opened in Palmdale about three years ago.

The Watt/Dean Witter Marketplace was approved as a 550,000-square-foot, open-air retail center that would include Target, Montgomery Ward, a discount drug store known as Pharmor and T.J. Maxx. The only store built is Target, which continues to operate from the location.

Forest City, according to the agreement approved by the council Wednesday, will now build the center. The city is offering the developer an incentive package to get the first 240,000 square feet built, which must include a 150,000-square-foot warehouse store, by Dec. 31, 1996.

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Palmdale plans to lease space from Forest City for a public parking lot and will also cover the cost of the company’s payments on a pair of assessment districts that were formed earlier to finance the improvements, such as streets, lighting, sewer and water lines, necessary for the Marketplace, the mall, auto center and other commercial developments planned in the area.

The city will begin making the payments, and continue to do so for 15 years, once 240,000 square feet of the shopping center is built and the warehouse store is open. The city will pay a maximum of $5 million, using no more than half of the sales tax revenue generated by the Marketplace, to Forest City for the lease and assessment districts over the 15 years.

Saturn is also receiving some incentives to come to Palmdale. The city is lending Lockhart $250,000 for his Saturn of Antelope Valley Inc., the same amount loaned the six other auto dealerships at the center.

As with the other car dealers, Palmdale will sell Lockhart the auto center land he needs at $6 per square foot, which may be paid by the sales tax revenue the Saturn dealership generates for the city.

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Palmdale will lease back from Lockhart about 28% of the 2.6-acre site he is purchasing at Avenue P-8 and Carriage Way in the auto center. The city will pay about $2,000 a year, the amount of property taxes imposed on the land, for a maximum of five years.

Palmdale’s sales tax revenue from the Saturn dealership is expected to exceed $80,000 annually, according to a city report.

While the Saturn agreement was approved by the council Wednesday, on the advice of city attorney Bill Rudell the agreement will not be signed immediately. Rudell said the city needs evidence that Lockhart’s corporation, under which he will operate the dealership, has been formed.

Lockhart expects to be able to provide the paperwork to the city in the next couple of weeks. “We’re really happy to be here,” he said. “We think we have the right type of car for this area.”

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