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Large Housing Project at Alondra Center Set to be Approved




By Tony Aiello

After sitting vacant for more than eight years, the La Mirada City Council is expected to approve this month, a 41-unit new housing project for the former Alondra Center, after the project was recently approved by the city’s Planning Commission.
“We’re excited and ready to start swinging some hammers and moving some dirt,” said Brett Whitehead, president of Brandywine Homes who is purchasing and developing the property, “we hope to begin grading by July, and have model homes open for viewing by January of next year.”
Bounded by Alondra Boulevard on the south, Escalona Road on the west, Dalmatian Avenue on the east, and homes along the north, the new neighborhood is proposed to be a closed-gate community, with a private vehicular entrance and three controlled pedestrian access gates.
The City of La Mirada Redevelopment Agency (RDA) has acquired 10 of 11 parcels on the property. The execution of a purchase agreement for the remaining parcel (previous Arco gas station), is still under negotiation.
The Whittier Daily News is reporting the city stands to lose at least $7 million on the deal-paying $12.5 million to purchase the property and receiving only about $5.7 million from Brandywine.
Although other shopping centers in the city seem to fall into a similar category, in March 2004, then city manager Andrea Travis descibed the center as “blighted”, and the city began the process of demolishing the site, with the intent to ultimately purchase it and develop single family homes.
According to the recent report from the city’s Community Development Department, the change was necessitated by the condition of the center, along with “poor tenant retention and an increase in vacancies leading to loitering, vandalism and public safety concerns. The overall condition of the center negatively impacted the aesthetics of the City”
In 2005, the decline of the housing market led to a failed attempt to develop the property.
The two-story homes of the Orchards housing project will vary from 1,995 sq. ft. to 2,720 sq. ft. and will range from $400,000 to $500,000.


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