CUSD gives Brandywine extension to develop new plans

The Claremont Unified School District has extended the deadline for the final sale of a vacant lot at 2475 N. Forbes Ave., a 9.7-acre parcel once home to the now-defunct La Puerta Intermediate School.

The school district awarded the surplus property to Brandywine Homes of Irvine, Calif., who bid $18,875,000 in December with the hopes of developing a luxury 59 home complex at the site.

CUSD and Brandywine have since entered a period of due diligence, during which the developer may choose to pull out of the deal with CUSD if it is determined financially unfeasible. Though the contract was set to end on February 27, CUSD heeded Brandywine executives’ request for an extension, says Lisa Shoemaker, CUSD’s superintendent of business services. The new deadline has been set for Friday, March 28.

“We extended the due diligence period so [Brandywine] could revise their plan and take it back to the city,” Ms. Shoemaker said.

As of Wednesday, director of community development Brian Desatnik confirmed he had yet to see the real estate company’s new plans. He did note, however, that another preliminary review of Brandywine’s concept is tentatively set for the March 18th Planning Commission meeting.

Brandywine’s early development plans—brought forward for a preliminary review at a packed planning commission meeting last month—include 59 two-story homes, ranging from 3550 to 4000 square feet each on 6000 to 7000-square foot lots. Residents at the meeting were supportive of building on the vacant land, but overwhelmingly opposed to the developer’s plan. More than a dozen residents spoke out against the development because it proposed building homes much larger than those currently in the North Forbes neighborhood.

The adjacent neighborhood, comprised of mostly one-story homes, is zoned as residential with single-family homes that are required to be situated on a minimum 13,000 square-feet lot. The developer would need to proceed with a zone change should plans persist. The lot is currently zoned public and does not allow for residential development.

While Brandywine executives remain unresponsive to requests for comment, Ms. Shoemaker noted the developer is revisiting their plans in an attempt to make things work.

“[The developers] are crunching the numbers again to see if they can incorporate the concerns expressed by the community and see whether or not they can bring that project to fruition,” she said in an interview earlier this month.  

—Beth Hartnett


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