Since Randy Wang, the developer and owner of the Piazza at Temple City, filed a countersuit against the City of Temple City in September 2008, it has been all quiet on the Piazza front.
This no longer appears to be the case. Wang and his newly hired spokesperson, Enrique Medina, reserved time with the Temple City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors on Monday, October 13, 2008.
At the meeting, Medina informed the Board of Directors that Wang had financial support, as long as the residential condominiums were scrapped from the project.
“The condos are like a poison,” added Wang. He proposed three possible changes: swap the residential condos for office condos, a hotel on the property, or add more retail space.
The third Piazza development team was also introduced. They include Howard Poyourow, the project manager, and Jane Housden of HTH Architects, the main architectural firm for the project. A & W Builders, the second construction management firm, pulled out of the Piazza in July 2008.
Wang also accused city officials of taking advantage of his limited English-speaking skills. Community Development Manager Joe Lambert was present in place of Councilman Ken Gillanders, the City’s official representative to the Chamber of Commerce.
“The basic message delivered by Mr. Medina was to convince the Chamber of Commerce Board [of Directors] that they should intercede” wrote City Manager and City Attorney Charles R. Martin in the October 16 City Manager’s report.
The other motive, according to Martin was “…to convince the City Council (politically) to rule in the developer’s favor, either now or after the next election in March, when they expect the Piazza will be a major election issue.”
The Piazza at Temple City, formerly known as the “Temple City Galleria” and “Piazza Las Tunas”, has broken ground twice. It once promised 52 one-bedroom condominiums and a complex shopping center at the site of the former Temple City Edwards cinema.
According to the Developer’s Agreement, the Piazza must be complete by August 23, 2009. If the project is not finished, the City will have the option of purchasing the 3.7 acre parcel for $5 million.
In addition to losing potential sales tax revenue, the City has also reportedly paid at least $11,500, in October, to its legal firm, Burke, Williams, and Sorensen, LLP for its services in an August court case.
While the Piazza team is mounting a campaign to build the project, it is uncertain whether or not its efforts will be successful.
Lee, Alfred. “Piazza developer ready to continue with project,” Pasadena Star News. 14 October 2008
This article was written by Matthew Wong. It was published in the Temple City Voice on February 13, 2009.