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Grand Avenue project needs extension

February 10, 2009 |  7:27 am

Grand250 As a deadline looms for the Grand Avenue project to begin construction, the developer of the $3-billion effort is seeking revisions to its agreement with the county about scheduling -- though it's unclear what those changes might be.

Last year, the developer, Related Cos., agreed to pay financial penalties to the Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority if ground wasn't broken by Feb. 15. Those penalties would total $250,000 a month until the project breaks ground. Related Cos. has said that although it has completed the documents required to begin construction, the current financial market has made procuring a loan on the massive project all but impossible.

But  Nelson Rising, chair of the civilian committee overseeing the project on behalf of the joint city-county authority, said that Related Cos. had requested revisions to the extension. Rising would not discuss what those revisions were because the negotiations were ongoing.

The members of the joint powers authority spent nearly an hour Monday in a closed session with representatives from the civic committee. When the meeting was called back to order, Supervisor Gloria Molina, the authority's chairwoman, said there was nothing to report out of the meeting.

The authority did grant the developer some concessions as to when the landscape and art plans, as well as a final construction budget, must be submitted. The timing of those documents is now linked to when the project receives its initial building permit.

The authority also asked the civilian committee to continue negotiations on its behalf. Rising and other members of the committee and authority would not discuss any further revisions to the development agreement. But they said they expected that their negotiations would be concluded before Feb. 15.

-- Cara Mia DiMassa

Photo: Eli Broad, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Supervisor Gloria Molina in 2005. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times