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AGOURA HILLS : Officials Cheered by Hints of Recovery

Agoura Hills officials faced with the gloomiest economic outlook in city history are hoping that a spurt of interest by developers and the first construction in two years signal better times ahead.

Grading for a furniture store at Roadside Drive and Cornell Road began this week, and final plans for a new office building and several remodeling projects are in the works, said David Anderson, Agoura Hills director of planning. The last construction project in town, he said, was a small office building about two years ago.

Several developers have also approached the city with “more than just curiosity” about building restaurants, a driving range and a church in the near future, although no plans have been submitted, Anderson said.

“There seems to be some momentum gaining,” Anderson said. “People are starting to come in, and these projects coming on line at the same time are something of a bright spot in our otherwise recession-ridden economy.”

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The surge in developer boldness underscores a UCLA report released Wednesday declaring that an economic recovery has begun in California, which has been in its worst financial slump in six decades.

It also comes as Agoura Hills confronts its steepest budget shortfall--$1 million--since it incorporated 12 years ago.

Financially struggling cities are often eager for new development, which brings property tax revenues, a sales tax boost created by new jobs, and various fees for city services and road work.

Reeds & Son Furniture plans to open its 30,000-square-foot store in Agoura Hills in January, 1995.

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Work on a 13,666-square-foot medical office building on Palo Comado Canyon Road north of Agoura Road could begin within several months, Anderson said, as could the expansion of the Twin Oaks shopping center at Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Kanan Road.

Construction of a 69-unit subdivision on Agoura Road between Palo Comado Canyon Road and Liberty Canyon Road is also expected to get under way soon, Anderson said.

The mini-boom won’t solve all the city’s financial woes right away, however.

“It’s one of many long-term solutions,” Councilwoman Fran Pavley said. “We still have a few years gap between this and the revenues flowing in. And there’s still the big question mark of the state budget after the June primaries. Last year, they took from local budgets, and they may do so again.”


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