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Grand Avenue Project in Trouble? LA Times Thinks So

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Regarding the Grand Avenue construction delay: An afternoon web site report by the Los Angeles Times suggests that the mixed-use downtown Grand Avenue project could be on shaky ground, but is it? This is what the Los Angeles Times writes: "The joint Los Angeles city-county board overseeing the $3-billion Grand Avenue project unexpectedly rejected the developer's request today for an eight-month delay to begin construction on the development across from the Walt Disney Concert Hall." But wait--two paragraphs later comes this sentence: "Officials acknowledged that the August date could well be extended to the developer's original target of February." Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times has already changed the story's copy at least once on its web site; the latest subhead is more optimistic about the project's chances.

A publicist for the project, who was in today's meeting, tells Curbed: "The word 'rejected' was never used, and there was never a suggestion that they wouldn't agree to a postponement." We're hearing there's lots of drama in the newsroom right now over this story. Full press release from Grand Ave's spokesperson after the jump regarding the LA Times story. UPDATE: City News Service, which also apparently had a reporter at today's meeting, has put out their story. It's after the jump.

"The extension was not “rejected” but consideration of the extension was deferred until the July 28 meeting of the Joint Powers Authority to give staff more time to fully review the schedule with Related.

Related is cooperating fully with this request. It is unwavering in its commitment to The Grand and is moving ahead on all fronts. Related now has over $90 million invested in The Grand."

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The panel overseeing construction of the $3 billion
Grand Avenue project agreed today to extend a developers' contract for 60 days, giving city and county officials time to renegotiate when work will begin on the major development.

The oversight panel had been expected to push the opening of the first
phase of the project to 2012, because Related Cos. of New York, the developer of the Frank Gehry-designed project set to rise across from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, is having a hard time getting construction loans amid the real estate downturn.

Under the current contract, construction had to begin by Friday. By
extending that deadline for 60 days, the Grand Avenue Authority can negotiate a longer extension with the developer, said John Edmisten, an assistant CEO for Los Angeles County.

The authority's next meeting is scheduled for July 28. Officials "expect that there will be a recommendation at that time for the (joint powers authority) board to react to,'' Edmisten said.

Last week, county Supervisor Mike Antonovich called on the Grand Avenue
Authority, which is made up of city and county officials, to put the project
out to bid again.

"The Grand Avenue Authority should reject this latest stalling tactic
and re-bid the project. If other developers knew that they could delay the
start date for 16 months, they would have bid the project differently and if
elected officials knew that the purported benefits would be delayed for 16
months, they might have negotiated a deal benefiting taxpayers,'' Antonovich said in a statement issued Friday.

Construction was supposed to begin last fall.

First-phase work, including a shopping center, Oriental hotel, Equinox
gym and two residential towers, was once scheduled to be completed in 2009.