Pacific City seems almost real

One of the owners of the Huntington Beach shopping mall Bella Terra told council members Monday that his group could turn the fabled Pacific City project into reality in a matter of two years.

Lindsay Parton, president of DJM Development Partners, showed conceptual art of what the retail portion of the proposed project, incorporating around 40 clothing stores and 20 restaurants on 31 acres, could look like.

Potential retail clients for the outdoor shopping area — to be located near First Street and Pacific Coast Highway — include the Equinox fitness club and Apple store, Parton said.

DJM is also looking to add a farmer's market-like area at the south end of the property.

Parton told council members that now would be the time to green-light the project because of the trend in the development market.

"I'm getting panicky here because of what's happening in the world," Parton said. "Interest rates are going up, construction costs are going up and tenants are getting anxious. They want to see us start."

Santa Barbara-based DJM in December 2012 became the fourth developer to get involved in this long-awaited project. The company bought 11 acres from Crescent Heights, which proposed to build 516 residential units.

Parton said Monday that the company will be working with Irvine-based R.D. Olson, the fifth firm to come onboard. It will be handling the construction of the eight-story hotel on the site.

"We're aiming for the summer of 2015, but I can only do that if I start by the end of this summer," he said.

The DJM president said the retail spaces and hotel could bring in around $6 million in revenue and property and sales taxes.

Parton said it was a good idea for the city to allow three developers — two of the five have dropped out — to work on the project: DJM, Crescent Heights and R.D. Olson.

"It was really too big of a beast for one developer to do," he said. "One of the brilliant things that Crescent Heights did that you all allowed them to do was to break it up and allow three separate developers to do it."

Council members seemed to enjoy Patron's presentation and told him that they were excited to see a developer ready to build on the site.

"Let's get going," Councilman Joe Shaw said. "I've always said that Pacific City should be like the American in Glendale or like The Grove. … I'm glad to have this cutting-edge thing that's coming. I'm kind of overwhelmed."

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