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Olivewood project should open in October

The lot on Jefferson Avenue across from Murrieta City Hall has been unused since I moved here, in 2009, and long before that. To have a weed-chocked lot across from the new City Hall and Town Square Park was really annoying to many officials and residents.

Well, the years-long saga to get the Olivewood shopping center built on the site looks to finally be over. Buildings are now built, and the developer, Rich Neugebauer, tells me in an email stores could be open by mid-October.

For a while, it looked like a project to build a shopping plaza with a cool-sounding specialty grocery store might never be built. The developer fought with the city for years in an effort to sell alcohol on the site. (We’ve touched on Murrieta’s strained relationship with booze in this space already.)

Eventually Murrieta changed its rules and the site will be allowed to sell some booze.

Then, there was the case of Glen Daigle, a partner in the firm who was also on the planning commission. I’ll spare you the months of back and forth, but basically Daigle argued for the project during a planning commission meeting and got hit with a $3,000 fine by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for his trouble. By that point, he had already quit the commission.

The project is also interesting for its investors. A group of about two dozen foreign investors, mostly Chinese, infused the project with cash in exchange for two-year conditional green cards to live in the US. The group pumped $12 million into the project, an inconceivable amount of capital to raise any other way during the current economic climate.

So who plans to go check it out?

Posted on Aug 30 2012 by arsnews
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