Why the Tierra Luna development is a home run

DOWNEY ‚àí The City of Downey is very proud of its rich history. Known as the "Home of the Apollo," Downey has always envisioned a "Future Unlimited." It is a City that has always been on the cutting edge for many reasons, but it has also been a City that has re-invented itself many times. It is where imagination has taken flight. We have done so much in our past and have been the place where so much has taken place. We want to continue to honor, respect and teach our history, while also promoting economic growth and services in our community.The new Tierra Luna Project is an amazing and exciting project. It proposes up to 1.5 million square feet of new retail/commercial, entertainment and office space. This project is an economic development "home run" expected to produce over $4.2 million of revenue to the City and 3,300 permanent jobs. 1200 of these jobs are high paying medical jobs. These revenues will allow us to be able to keep the independence we are so proud of. It will allow us to keep our own Police and Fire Departments. It will allow us to keep many of the services others do not provide. It is a much needed hotel and office complex. It is a much needed gathering area for our residents and community to congregate. It will provide event areas for such successful community events and functions like Downey Art Vibe. Yes, it will have a pedestrian village and many historical elements built throughout. It is a place for activities for our families. It is a much needed fire station and preservation of the famed Kaufman Wing. It is sustainable and Earth friendly...It is exciting and amazing. All this and with no redevelopment money used…Exciting? Absolutely! During the first two of the public hearings held so far we have heard many things that we wanted to address. For example, some have suggested that our City should focus on manufacturing and green technology industries. The City of Downey worked with the property owner to develop the site into light manufacturing when it pursued Tesla Motors. The City spent significant City Council, staff, and owner resources to turn this site into a green light manufacturing plant. But financially, the only reason why Tesla was even remotely possible was because it came with a $400 million dollar infusion of cash from the federal government in order to upgrade the property. Unfortunately, our City lost to a significant investment by Toyota. The City also worked to court other green technology manufactures such as an electric truck manufacturer, solar panel manufacturer and battery manufacturer. All were seeking significant upfront subsidies to get their projects launched. Many people do not know we also courted an NFL stadium a few years ago. So vision and dedication for this project has not been lacking. Ever. Our City has also been very committed to addressing the historical elements on this project site. When our City was left with 170 acres of a contaminated Brownfield superfund site, we addressed the clean-up and the historical elements that are there today. The clean-up has been successful by all standards and several structures will ultimately be preserved. They were reviewed and vetted by NASA, the General Services Administration, the State Office of Historic Preservation, the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Downey Historical Society and the Aerospace Legacy Foundation. The Tierra Luna project will preserve all elements in accordance with that historical review. And the historical component of Tierra Luna will continue to promote what has occurred at this site. As for the viability of continued aerospace growth, there have been recent significant closures over the last year; Northrop Grumman cut 500 jobs in the cities of El Segundo and Redondo Beach; Lockheed Martin announced they cut 1200 jobs in three states recently, many in California; and Boeing cut 900 jobs in Long Beach a few months ago. Another important fact is that there is currently over 10 million square feet of available manufacturing space in the area that is ready to occupy without the costly upgrades needed at our site. It is not financially prudent to add to that number. The City of Santa Fe Springs alone has almost 3 million square feet available. The City of Downey did not lack vision and Tierra Luna is a visionary project in many ways. Daily work by our staff and council for the past few years has resulted in one of the best and exciting projects in all of Southern California. Many cities look to this as a great vision and we do too. It is rare to have a $150 to $200 million dollar project and we are so excited about the potential. Tierra Luna will provide twice as many new jobs as any other development we discussed. By comparison, Tesla would have produced 1,000 jobs and no retail revenue. Tierra Luna dramatically improves upon what can be built on the site now and is one of the few non-redevelopment projects in the region that has the cooperation of both the property owner and the City. It really is exciting and a great development of our City and our future. The speed in which we have reached this point is one of the reasons Downey has a new reputation in the past few years as being business friendly and pro-active. We are open to the needs of our residents and community. We are open to do the right business developments. Our past and current city leaders have done some extraordinary things that will forever be appreciated. You see, much like the explorers that built rockets and landed on the moon, they have explored options, weighed factors and have looked at our future wants and needs. Tierra Luna will be a regional draw that will continue to attract others into our City and help raise all other shopping and consumer activities for our region. When Downey Landing was finished, Stonewood Mall sales increased and Tierra Luna will do this also. It will be a regional attraction and destination. Many have said that the important things are always in the details and on this we can all agree. Some of the details will still be written by our public interest and ideas. High construction cost ensures a quality project with lasting features and architecture that is worthy of our community. History will continue to live in many ways in Downey and throughout Tierra Luna and our City will continue to thrive. Then is not now, nor do we want it to be. But we are still reaching for the stars. Yes, this is an exciting and awesome project that we will all be very proud of. I look forward to hearing your thoughts or ideas. I can reached at mguerra@downeyca.org. All my best, God bless.

********** Published: January 19, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 40