San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 05/05/15, 3:16 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Four developers are finalists to build on the 43-acre property occupied by Carousel Mall, and most likely, the mall will be demolished to make way for new development, a city official said during a broker roundtable Tuesday.

The mall most likely will be replaced with a mixed-use project including commercial, retail and residential units, said Bill Manis, assistant city manager for economic development. A letter was sent to developers in November soliciting interest in the property.

Manis said he expects the selection process to be done in the next 18 to 24 months and the overall project to take about five years.

However, city spokeswoman Monica Lagos said Manis was only expressing a personal opinion.

“At this point we do not have a plan or confirmed developer to do the project,” she said by email. “We are in the process of moving forward to get that developer and determine what the project will consist of. That will involve citizen input, public review and comment, and public hearings before the Planning Commission and City Council.”

The city does not own the historic Harris Building or site of the former JC Penney that are part of the mall — Spanish retailer El Corto Ingles and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians do, respectively — and their role in the potential deals, which would require City Council approval, wasn’t clear Tuesday.

The news came as San Bernardino officials announced the city was open for business at the roundtable, which they intend to hold yearly to update the people responsible for bringing businesses into the city on the prospects for business here.

“I’m sorry that the city has been dark for the last two years,” Manis said. “Hopefully, what you’ve heard here today is that’s not the case (now).”

San Bernardino officials — from the community development director to the police chief — gave details on developments in the city and on issues of concern to the nearly 25 business people gathered for the roundtable at Carousel Mall.

That included the bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment — due to U.S. Bankruptcy Court May 30, with a draft expected to first be available to the public May 14 — and the city’s efforts to get a so-called “finding of completion” on the 300-odd properties owned by the former redevelopment agency. Like other redevelopment agencies statewide, San Bernardino’s was dissolved by a 2011 state law.

A redevelopment staff of 40 people was then cut to five, and now Jim Morris — former Mayor Pat Morris’ chief of staff — is in charge of “winding down” what had been an independently run agency.

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