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Monterey Park and Its Atlantic Times Square Have 99 Problems

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Oh, Atlantic Times Square, if only an ageographical name and some delays were your only troubles. But no, this behemoth in Monterey Park has 200,000 square feet of retail, 210 condos, and 99 problems.

1. The California Department of Industrial Relations ruled last week that Monterey Park has to pay $16 million to developer Kam Sang Company, and that Kam Sang has to go back and pay higher wages to the project's workers. The reasoning, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, sounds like a good excuse to remind everyone about the definition of "begging the question": "The city said that, if the DIR ruled the project was a public work, then the city would pay Lam $16 million. That guarantee made the project a public work, wrote John Duncan, the department's director."

A public project has to pay workers a state-determined "prevailing wage." In 2007, the city attempted to take all public assistance out of the agreement with Kam Sang because it estimated that paying a prevailing wage to Atlantic Times Square workers would cost an extra $20 million.

2. Also according to the SGVT, Monterey Park mayor and licensed broker Anthony Wong said in May that "he was entitled to receive a $23,000 commission from developer Ronnie Lam for brokering a lease for commercial retail space at Atlantic Times Square." Wong said later that he declined the commission, but the city council has voted that the DA's office look into it.

3. Earlier this month EGP reported that the developer "has failed to pay the city at least $390,000 in permit fees."

4. And, also from EGP, "During recent budget discussions, it was revealed that the city had over-estimated its business license fee revenue for last year because they were expecting the Atlantic Times Square project to open much sooner than is now anticipated."

On the plus side, the web site for the project touts that 45% of the condominiums are pre-sold and the first retail tenant, 24 Hour Fitness, opened in May.
· Monterey Park on the hook for $16 million in redevelopment project [SGVT]
· Monterey Park Mixed-Use Project Hits Speed Bumps [EGP]