Wednesday, September 3, 2014
AV College ready to sell 5 acres across from campus
Article from AV Press-The Antelope Valley College is putting up for sale five acres at 30th Street West and Avenue K that now is a vacant lot covered with California juniper bushes but which once was to get the college $1.25 million and be turned into a shopping center - before the "Great Recession" intervened. Under state law, the college first must offer the land to another government agency or a charity at fair market value, which the college is not disclosing, before it could be sold to a shopping center developer or other private buyer. "We've had several indications of interest," Antelope Valley College President Edward Knudson said Wednesday. "We couldn't act on it because we have to go through this process." Owned by the college for decades at the southwest corner of the intersection, across the street from the campus, the land once was described as an environmental study area, then was offered in the late 1980s as a potential site for a performing arts center. Posted there now is a real estate sales company's sign advertising "retail center coming soon." Lancaster officials in 2009 agreed to use the city's redevelopment agency as an intermediary, buying the property from the college for $1.25 million and selling it at the same price to a Newport Beach-based developer that planned to build a shopping center with 35,000 square feet of business space, including a restaurant. But the sale never took place, and college officials have declared the land is surplus to the college's needs, Knudson said. "I think because of the recession and the business climate, the developer or developers was not able to complete the work," Knudson said. College officials expect that whatever is built at the corner will be compatible with nearby neighborhoods, college students and traffic, he said. The property has a zoning designation of Commercial - Planned Development, which means any project proposed there must undergo a public hearing before the Lancaster planning commission and receive a permit setting conditions for its development, City Manager Mark Bozigian said. Any government agency or nonprofit organization interested in buying the land for fair market value must notify the college by Aug. 26, records show. If none does, the college can move forward with putting the land up for sale to private buyers, Knudson said. The property up for sale at the southwest corner of Avenue K and 30th Street West is different from the controversial site of a separate proposal at the intersection's southeast corner. Neighbors objected to the 8-acre project proposed at the southeast corner by J.P. Eliopulos Enterprises of Lancaster.