By Susan Motander
When the Monrovia City Council discussed its last agenda item at the council meeting on Tuesday, there was small surprise in the oral report of City Manager Oliver Chi: there was no opportunity to further build on the existing Metro Parking Structure at Monrovia Station Square, the local Gold Line Station. When the plans for the station and the parking structure were first discussed, it was understood that the parking structure was designed to be expandable. In other words, it would be built with footings strong enough to be used for a larger (i.e. taller) structure to be built on the existing one.
In his report on entering into an exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) with CFT NV Developments, a company looking to build a multi-use structure on the city owned parking lot near Station Square, Chi mentioned that he and Assistant City Manager Lauren Vasquez had first approached Metro, when now owns and controls the parking structure at Station Square. They discovered that in order to save money, the Gold Line Construction Authority had changed the specifications of the parking structure so that expansion was not possible. The substructure, footings, etc., were not strong enough to allow for a taller addition.
While the council approved the ENA with CFT NV Developments to build a commercial/housing/parking structure, that would give the area more than 100 additional parking spaces, the focus of the council was on the under building of the Metro parking structure. They members of the council were not happy; as Council Member Gloria Crudgington said, “We all have steam shooting out our ears.”
Mayor Tom Adams said Monrovia should not feel slighted in regard to the under building of the parking structure. He pointed out that all the stations along the Gold Line extension from Pasadena to Azusa were supposed to have parking structures that could be built up. He said “They were all under built. If you wonder why we don’t trust Metro and the Gold Line Construction Authority (GLCA), this is the reason.”
Council Member Alex Blackburn, himself an attorney, asked City Attorney Craig Steele to look into potential actions the city might have against the GLCA or Metro. Saying he would not ask for an immediate legal opinion, Blackburn did ask Steel to look into the issue.
Steele stated that another firm had handled the city’s negotiations with the GLCA, but that he would discuss the situation with representatives of that firm. When the Gold Line Construction Authority was asked for a comment on this issue, Lisa Levy Bush, spokesperson for the Gold Line, denied that the footings were “under built.” She said, “The footings are strong enough to support additional stories …” but added that other modifications would need to be made to the structure to enable the addition of more stories.
Re: Monrovia Weekly Story “Monrovia Council Wonders Why the Gold Line Parking Structure Was Under Built”
Lisa Levy Bush contacted this newspaper and stated that she told Susan Motander [reporter] that it was “the columns – not the footings – of the parking structures were all built to accommodate future expansion.”
In an email from Lisa Levy Bush to Susan Motander Bush pointed out that: “As we discussed, the parking garages were all built with columns that would allow for additional floors to be added in the future. As I understand it, there would be the need to retrofit other elements of the structures in order to move forward with adding floors; but we augmented all of the columns for future growth.
We apologize for the error and or confusion.