A piece of land near one of Santa Clarita’s main highways won’t be developed just yet, after the City Council voted 4-0 to continue a development proposal pending further study.
The 10-acre property, owned by SFXS Partners, sits on the southeastern corner of Newhall Avenue and Sierra Highway. Directly behind the SFXS property is a 7-acre parcel owned by the University of Southern California (USC), which in turn backs up to Highway 14.
The initial development proposal consisted of several commercial buildings including a hotel, retail, and restaurant space. It was approved by the City’s Planning Commission in June on a 4-1 vote, however it was appealed by a member of the City Council.
The underlying issue revolves around the desire on behalf of City staff and the City Council to further study the development of not just the SFXS property, but the USC property as well. Council members wanted to avoid developing the properties at different times and/or under different designs. Council members said that they considered the properties a “gateway” location, which can serve a greater purpose in the overall development and redevelopment of the downtown Newhall area.
“I believe that it is in the best interest of the community to collaboratively create something that really stands out,” said Mayor Laurene Weste. “We don’t want to give something less, we want to give something more.”
So far, USC has displayed no interest in developing their property, and would like to sell. However despite discussion with SFXS Partners, the two property owners have not been able to agree on a price.
In addition to continuing the appeal to a date not to exceed six months in the future, the City Council also authorized the expenditure of $199,200 to fund a new set of studies from Poliquin Kellogg Design Group that will detail the economic feasibility of developing both properties together and draw up a master plan. The City Council hopes that the money spent on the study will add value to USC’s property and stimulate the full development opportunity.
The City also included an item in the motion that will seek reimbursement of the study expenditures before the USC property can be developed from whomever eventually purchases the property.
So the study will be completed, and sometime before the end of June City Council members will again weigh this development armed with the results.
The Council’s action was completed with with four members; Bob Kellar abstained from the vote.