LOS ANGELES (CBS) — City Councilman Bernard Parks announced Thursday that Kaiser Permanente is the latest addition to the long-stalled Marlton Square redevelopment project,designed to infuse new business and jobs into the Crenshaw District.

Better known as Santa Barbara Plaza, Marlton Square has been in redevelopment for more than two decades, with millions of dollars in public funds committed for improvements. But to date, only a senior complex spread over 2.25 acres has opened at the 22-acre site, according to Parks.

“Today marks a major achievement for the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw community,” the councilman said. “Twenty-eight years ago, Mayor Tom Bradley mandated that the Santa Barbara Plaza be completely rehabilitated. Now … we are here at the site once known as Santa Barbara Plaza, after many starts and stops to actually welcome a cornerstone and major tenant of the project, Kaiser Permanente.”

Kaiser plans to erect two buildings with offices for its doctors on the corner of Marlton Avenue and Santa Rosalia Drive, according to Parks. Kaiser purchased the land from Commercial Mortgage Managers of Torrance,which is also in negotiation to sell space to the potential developers of a 120,000-square-foot retail center at the site, he said.

“All of us at Kaiser Permanente are delighted that escrow has closed. Now we can begin planning an outpatient medical office building that brings medical services closer to our members living and working in the area,” Kaiser Chief Operating Officer Norair Jemjemian said.

Marlton Square was part of a $1 billion real estate portfolio that defaulted when lender USA Capital filed for bankruptcy in 2006, halting redevelopment, according to Parks’ office.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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