Council Gives In, Agrees to Piazza Changes

Although this news story happened a few months ago, the Temple City Voice published this article to highlight the significance of the project to Temple City. The Temple City Voice aims to have an updated new story in the immediate future.After a month of intense negotiating, the City Council and the developer of the Piazza at Temple City project have agreed to additional changes.

The Piazza at Temple City is a mixed-use development project located on Las Tunas Drive and Rosemead Boulevard. In May 2006, the previous City Council unanimously approved the controversial development. Since then, the development has struggled with beginning the construction.

In September, the City Council and developer were engaged in heated discussions over eight proposed changes to the development. On Tuesday, October 16, 2007, approximately one month later, the City Council finally agreed to the new alterations proposed by the developer and the construction management firm, A & W Builders.

After a presentation to the City Council and the audience, Charles Martin, the City Manager and City Attorney of Temple City noted that the developer wanted a green light to “prepare the final plan” for the Piazza at Temple City.

“I have a problem with the drawings…It just doesn’t look like what we were expecting” commented Councilwoman Cathé Wilson.

One resident criticized the City Council for “nitpicking the project to death.” Another resident urged the Council to stop “micromanaging” the development.

Scott Carwile, a former City Council candidate, cautioned against giving in, without serious consideration, to all the changes the developer wanted. He added “We need to stick to it [the developer’s agreement] and make [them] build the original project.”

Of the six changes presented to the Council, the Council unanimously agreed to four of them: a dual ingress/egress, reduction of parking spaces from 786 to 765, change from one or two large anchors to two to four smaller anchors, and the fabric elevations and shape.

Councilmembers Fernando Vizcarra and Cathé Wilson dissented on the changing of the building elevations. The change, however, was approved on a 3-2 vote.

The last change, the architectural styling for the Piazza at Temple City project, was approved 4-1, with Councilwoman Wilson dissenting.

The motion made by Councilman David Capra is to tentatively approve the architectural styling in concept, but it is still subject to changes after review of the final drawings.

After approving the changes request by the developer, Charles Martin, inquired on several items including whether or not a loan had been acquired and the existence of the owner’s company, TCD Enterprise.

David Wilson, president of A & W Builders stated “We have a term sheet with Far East Bank and East West Bank” and expressed confidence in obtaining a loan from either bank. Wilson also stated that they were currently marketing the project.

Next, the attorney representing Randy Wang, the owner of the Piazza at Temple City project, Benjamin Meeker explained the situation regarding Wang’s company. Meeker stated that Wang’s company had been suspended because of legal issues.

Meeker added that a dispute between a former individual associated with the Piazza at Temple City project arose. The individual, David Choi, filed for the TCD Enterprise name; therefore, Randy Wang, the owner cannot utilize the name anymore. Nevertheless, Meeker informed the Council a new limited liability company (LLC), will be formed within 20-30 days. The name of the new company will be TCD Enterprise LLC.

The City Manager and City Attorney, Charles Martin stated that the City of Temple City could not sign the new agreement with the developer because of the internal dispute; however, “You have your marching orders.”

In response to earlier comments by some members of the audience, Mayor Judy Wong said the Council was not nitpicking the project. “We’re just trying to find out more details about it” responded Wong.

Had the Council declared any of the changes to the project as significant or major, the project could have been challenged again by a referendum. In June 2006, an opposition group emerged to challenge the decision to approve the project. A total of 1937 signatures were gathered to challenge the project, but the City Clerk rejected the petitions on the basis of a “technicality.”

The Piazza at Temple City must be built by August 23, 2009.

 

This article was written by Margaret Thi. It was published in the Temple City Voice on February 20, 2008.

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