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After the Cortez “hole” was finally filled and chainlink-fenced in August 2010 (click here for background), the plan was to transform the empty lot owned by the San Diego Redevelopment Agency into a paved and lighted parking lot.

The site is midblock between Ash and Beech streets, in between Fourth and Fifth avenues. The Centre City Development Corporation solicited bids for the $145,000 project last March.

I went by last week to take a look. Unlike some abandoned construction sites, it's clean and secured. I contacted Jeff Graham, vice president for redevelopment at Centre City Development Corporation, to find out what brought the project to a halt.

Graham said, “The California Supreme Court agreed to accept the litigation filed by the League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association challenging the constitutionality” of California Assembly bills ABx1 26 and ABx1 27.

“Therefore, CCDC and the [Redevelopment] Agency are unable to proceed with executing the contract with the low bidder to construct the parking-lot improvements or any other project at this time.”

Graham said “dozens of projects” in 14 redevelopment-project areas had been delayed.

“To say that the legislation and the court order are frustrating and detrimental to the local economy and downtown would be an understatement,” he said.

The parking lot project includes revenue sharing between the parking operator and the Redevelopment Agency. The parking lot would remain until a planned low-income apartment complex (“Atmosphere”) begins construction.

The affordable-housing developer, Wakeland Housing & Development Corporation, has, according to Graham, “taken the proposed project through the design-review process but staff is unable to [proceed] under the current Supreme Court stay order."

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