The Southern California Conference's hope of reducing millions of dollars of debt created by its Newbury Park Development Project has been further delayed by the home improvement giant Lowe's saying last week it would pull out of a deal to build on the former location of the conference-owned Ventura Estates Retirement Center. This comes as Lowe's announces it will close 20 stores and lay off nearly 2000 employees nationwide.
This is the second time a major retail store has dropped out of escrow on the parcel. Costco backed out of the same location last year.
In its over 20-year history the Newbury Park Development Project has been dogged by difficulties. According to a fact sheet handed out at a May conference constituency meeting the project is nearly 20 million dollars in debt. The Conference also made an "internal advance" to the project of almost 7 million dollars. The Pacific Union is carrying $5.8 million of the debt and the General Conference $8.6 million.
The development project was begun with the purpose of raising funds from a valuable tract of Ventura County property to rebuild the aging Newbury Park Adventist Academy, Conejo Adventist Elementary School and Ventura Estates Retirement Center. To date only the elementary school has been rebuilt. Ventura Estates was vacated and demolished to make way for the retail development, but Newbury Park Academy, built in 1949, remains in its original location.
With the development project mired in debt many think it unlikely that the Academy and the Retirement Center will ever be rebuilt, and there are continuing concerns about the conference’s ability to handle the extraordinary indebtedness.
Photo: Gerry Chudleigh
During the 2011 SCC constintuency meeting, David Filipps, right, of Ridgewood Associates, and President Larry L. Caviness, president of SCC, answer questions about the Newbury Park development project.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/3500