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PHOENIX-A $48 million aquatic center planned for the shores of a two-mile long, man-made lake in the heart of the Valley is still afloat.

California developer Zev Buffman has been granted a 90-day extension from Tempe officials to complete the agreement to build the aquatic complex, which will feature a 4,000-seat indoor venue, floating stage and outdoor swimming. Rather than build on city-owned land using some public money, Buffman now says he is looking for a privately owned parcel and won’t ask the city for any money.

The proposed site for the center is at southwestern end of Tempe Town Lake near Downtown. The $45-million lake, filled a little over a year ago, is beginning to attract development attention.

Buffman hopes to have construction under way by January 2001, so that the center could be operating within a year. Buffman says an early opening date is critical to lure some of the big name swimmers from this year’s Olympic Games in Australia.

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