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Fire officials get land

Court order calls for transfer of 1.28 acres from land development company

Posted: February 13, 2009 12:01 a.m.
Updated: February 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Cars parked at the temporary fire station at 24505 Copper Hill Drive.

 
The Newhall Land and Farming Company is handing over an acre of land valued at $1.5 million to county fire officials as a bankruptcy court continues to restructure debt incurred by its parent company, LandSource Communities Development, LLC.

Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin J. Carey signed an order in Delaware earlier this week for Newhall Land to enter into a mitigation agreement with the Fire Protection District of Los Angeles County.

The order calls for the transfer of 1.28 acres of land on Copper Hill Drive, north of Decoro Drive in West Creek, which serves as a temporary base for the county's Fire Station 156.

"We will issue a developer fee credit (to Newhall Land) equal to the appraised value of the site," said Chief Debbie Aguirre, of the Consolidated Fire Protection District of Los Angeles County.

Aguirre, in charge of the district's planning division, said she expects to receive the deed to the land - appraised at $1.56 million - in about two weeks.

This week's court order also calls for Newhall Land to pay some of the money owed to a handful of creditors that hold liens on the fire station property.

"We reached consensus with all parties on the transfer of the fire station site and the court ratified the transfer," said Marlee Lauffer, spokeswoman for Newhall Land.

Some of the creditors ordered to be paid include $9,009.96 to R. T. Frankian & Associates for geological work, $10,000 to Becker & Son, Inc., against that company's lien of $46,245.70 and more than $73,000 to Oakridge Landscape, Inc., for maintenance work done of the property since September.

Carey noted in his findings that Newhall Land entered into the transfer agreement based on "sound business judgment." Some lien-holders contacted by The Signal described Newhall Land as professional and responsible.

"We are very happy to know that things are now being resolved," said James A. Frankian, president of R.T. Frankian, the soil testing firm that examined the fire station site.

Soil testing at the site was "one part of one project of many projects," he said, adding he's been waiting for a check from Newhall since June when LandSource filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection.

Newhall Land and Farming is a 125-year-old land development company pivotal in building Santa Clarita Valley's character.

The company remains committed in its obligations to help fund major projects in Santa Clarita Valley including the 8.5 mile cross-valley connector linking Highway 14 and Highway 126 the road improvements around Magic Mountain Parkway and Interstate 5, according to Lauffer.

MacFarland Partners, Warehouse Realtor Investors and CalPERS own 68 percent of LandSource collectively, while Lennar Corporation and LNR Property Corporation each own a 16 percent share of the company.

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