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Proposal for retail center advances
Group opposes any big-box stores in GT
Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
San Bernardino County Sun
GRAND TERRACE - Plans for the largest shopping center in city history are moving forward despite the opposition of some residents.
At a special meeting last week, the City Council selected a developer to build a retail center expected to include a Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse.
But a residents' group says it is determined to stop the construction of a Lowe's or any big-box store in the city.
"We want to keep Grand Terrace a bedroom community," said Mark Jolstead, spokesman for the group We The Residents of Grand Terrace. "We don't want this type of industry. We're going to make sure it never gets built in Grand Terrace."
Jolstead said a big-box store such as Lowe's would bring noise, traffic, air pollution and other problems.
"It's just not suitable for Grand Terrace," said Jolstead, 52.
However, he said the group does support plans for a new Stater Bros. and a county branch library, which also would be part of the shopping center.
Woodland Hills developer Doug Jacobsen has proposed a 20-acre center on Barton Road between Michigan Avenue and Canal Street. The $40 million project is expected to generate about $600,000 in annual sales-tax revenue for the city, officials said.
But to build a center of that size, Jacobsen needs to acquire a 1.9-acre piece of land owned by Barton Road resident Jo Stringfield.
Jacobsen has contracts to buy the other 13 properties needed for the project, City Manager Tom Schwab said.
Stringfield, whose family has owned a home on Barton for more than 50 years, has refused to sell her property to make way for Jacobsen's project.
Instead, Stringfield expressed interest in building her own shopping center on the site.
She refused to present details of her development plans when asked by council members Thursday night.
As a result, the council unanimously agreed to choose Jacobsen as the developer of the project.
City officials will continue trying to work out a deal to acquire Stringfield's property, Schwab said.
If the city is unable to get her land voluntarily or through eminent domain, Jacobsen said he would build a scaled-down project that would exclude Stringfield's parcel.
The modified 18-acre proposal would be too small for a Lowe's, however. It would include a Stater Bros., library, restaurants and other stores.
Stater Bros. would move from its current location at Barton and Mount Vernon Avenue to a larger store in the new center.
The new supermarket would offer an expanded deli, a bakery, a bank and a wider selection of products, Jack Brown, Stater Bros. chairman of the board and chief executive officer, told the council.
"What I like about this project," said Mayor Maryetta Ferre on Friday, "is the fact that we have Jack Brown and Doug Jacobsen, two financially experienced, forward-thinking men who are willing to put their money into our city."