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Old Horton Plaza Department Store Due For Wrecking Ball?

Whether the half-cent sales tax had passed or not, it appears the 130,000 square feet of retail space in the old Robinson's department store in Horton Plaza is not far away from the wrecking ball.

Roger Showley reported this morning (Nov. 4) that Westfield Group offered to demolish the old department store near the remodeled Balboa Theatre and convert it into park land, in exchange for not making further annual payments to Centre City Development Corporation.

Westfield appears to be aware of Nathan Fletcher's SB 863 tax-increment cap removal amendment that may allow CCDC to divert an unlimited amount of new tax revenues from the City of San Diego to CCDC.

The estimated CCDC bailout of Westfield may be $35 million in canceled anticipated revenues between now and 2035, but those anticipated revenues to CCDC from Westfield seem high in light of declining Horton Plaza retail sales.

Without mentioning the hastily-made proposal only days after Proposition D's failure at the polls, Westfield Group's property portfolio for Horton Plaza currently states, "As part of a multi-stage, evolutionary revitalization, a portion of the center has been recently recrafted to house upscale fashion apparel retailers. Subsequent plans envision the complete transformation of the former Robinson’s-May into flagship retail space, extensive remodeling of the venue to enhance its ambience and elegance, along with the creation of improved street connections to better integrate the center into surrounding avenues" [emphasis added].

The Westfield Group proposal to take that much retail space off the local market comes as Westfield opens its new Sydney flagship shopping center in Australia. According to Australia's Business Spectator, Westfield Group Ltd will enter a pre-open trading halt pending the release of an announcement until the beginning of trade on November 8 or when an announcement is released.

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Whether the half-cent sales tax had passed or not, it appears the 130,000 square feet of retail space in the old Robinson's department store in Horton Plaza is not far away from the wrecking ball.

Roger Showley reported this morning (Nov. 4) that Westfield Group offered to demolish the old department store near the remodeled Balboa Theatre and convert it into park land, in exchange for not making further annual payments to Centre City Development Corporation.

Westfield appears to be aware of Nathan Fletcher's SB 863 tax-increment cap removal amendment that may allow CCDC to divert an unlimited amount of new tax revenues from the City of San Diego to CCDC.

The estimated CCDC bailout of Westfield may be $35 million in canceled anticipated revenues between now and 2035, but those anticipated revenues to CCDC from Westfield seem high in light of declining Horton Plaza retail sales.

Without mentioning the hastily-made proposal only days after Proposition D's failure at the polls, Westfield Group's property portfolio for Horton Plaza currently states, "As part of a multi-stage, evolutionary revitalization, a portion of the center has been recently recrafted to house upscale fashion apparel retailers. Subsequent plans envision the complete transformation of the former Robinson’s-May into flagship retail space, extensive remodeling of the venue to enhance its ambience and elegance, along with the creation of improved street connections to better integrate the center into surrounding avenues" [emphasis added].

The Westfield Group proposal to take that much retail space off the local market comes as Westfield opens its new Sydney flagship shopping center in Australia. According to Australia's Business Spectator, Westfield Group Ltd will enter a pre-open trading halt pending the release of an announcement until the beginning of trade on November 8 or when an announcement is released.

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Comments
11

A telling photograph from the Westfield Group web site. Notice how the Robinson-May building and most of the mall's movie theaters are just not in the picture... and at nearly close of business today, San Diego time, the emphasized statement in the above blog post remains on the corporate web site.

http://westfield.com/corporate/images/property_portfolio/aerial_photos/hortonplaza.jpg

Nov. 4, 2010

that saddens me

Nov. 5, 2010

There are legitimate reasons to support or oppose the proposed deal but please start by accurately stating the facts. The Horton Plaza redevelopment zone is not part of the area where the cap has been lifted.

Nov. 6, 2010

RE #3:

The tax increment cap was not merely lifted to $9 billion from its previous $2.9 billion but rather eliminated entirely in legislation tied to the recent state budget talks, so that there is no legal limit to prevent that tax increment amount for redevelopment from surpassing $9 billion or more. The Westfield Group Horton Plaza site is completely within CCDC's project boundaries.

http://www.ccdc.com/projects/interactive-map.html?neighborhood=horton_gaslamp

Nathan Fletcher's earmark amendment to SB 863 contains no language restricting the use of tax increment funds, and does contain language that gives the earmark effect over all other statutory provisions in law as well as previous San Diego redevelopment agreements.

With the cap eliminated, CCDC has no real limits on what it can draw from City tax revenues, and the state legislature has shown itself willing to change the laws on San Diego redevelopment as it pleases, when it pleases, as it has just recently to eliminate the cap. With that kind of draw on at least $6 billion and possibly more in future tax revenues, CCDC can easily write off the estimated $35 million from Horton Plaza retail and parking income that was to be paid until 2035 and give up land to City of San Diego for a park, in exchange for goodwill on the City Council AKA Redevelopment Agency to secure permission for future CCDC development to remove "blight."

On the bright side, there is now no real reason why all overhead power lines in the CCDC project area can't be underground by 2012, unless the failure of Prop. D becomes a issuance ratings factor that reduces CCDC's ability to raise funds through debt offerings that are covered by future tax increment revenue to CCDC. If CCDC can't fund this "blight" improvement, then one wonders just how many local construction jobs were really anticipated from Fletcher's CCDC bailout earmark.

Nov. 7, 2010

Horton Plaza is one beautiful shopping center IMO!

Nov. 7, 2010

RE "Horton Plaza is one beautiful shopping center IMO!":

I've enjoyed shopping there in the past, but some stores I used to shop at simply no longer exist post-Crash of 2008.

Nov. 7, 2010

I personally have not been there in the last 2 years.......I know Horton Plaza is not the only shopping center with declining sales-sales have declined everywhere the last 2 years....

Nov. 7, 2010

This is interesting. Let me see if I interpret it correctly. There is the possibility that redevelopment money would bail out Horton Plaza? Also, I know the Plaza but I can't place the Robinson building.

Nov. 8, 2010

Also, I know the Plaza but I can't place the Robinson building.

It faces Broadway, directly across the street from the US Grant Hotel, behind the grass and fountain;

. http://www.cruisereviews.com/images/ports/mexicoportreviews/SanDiegoPictures/HortonPlaza.jpg .

. http://legacy.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20081001/images/horton2.jpg .

Nov. 8, 2010

Thanks for the pictures S.P. Who would have thought this would become wrecking ball material so soon.

Nov. 8, 2010

In any case, it is NOT a potential site for a football stadium.

Nov. 9, 2010

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