ONTARIO, CA-City officials have struck a deal to sell 94.3 acres to Sacramento-based Panattoni Development for $26 million in a transaction that sets the stage for Panattoni to develop a 1 million-sf mixed use “urban village” in the heart of Ontario’s business district, and for the city to create an 8,500-sf community events center that would be a counterpart to facilities like the Staples Center in Los Angeles and The Pond in Anaheim. The project would be one of the largest of its kind ever in the Inland Empire.

Greg Devereaux, Ontario city manager, tells GlobeSt.com that the proposed sale will go before the Ontario City Council Nov. 9. The land that Panattoni would buy stretches along the I-10 Freeway and is bordered by Fourth Street to the north, Milliken Avenue to the east and Haven Avenue to the west. The city has owned it since August 1998, when it bought a 200-acre tract from the developers Concours and Regis for $17 million.

Panattoni’s project would be called Piemonte and would comprise approximately 380,000 sf of class A office space, 800 condominiums built adjacent to and above 55,000 sf of retail as part of what the city describes as a “Main Street-style live, work, play experience.” Plans also include an additional 309,000 sf of lifestyle-oriented retail, a proposed 45,000-sf health club and fitness center, and a 236-room hotel.

If the sale is approved, the city’s events center would be built on a 23-acre site next to Panattoni’s mixed use development. The events center would house minor league hockey and an ABA professional basketball team as well as family-oriented entertainment or concerts. The city would choose an operator for the events center, Devereaux explains, and would work with the operator to choose an architect and a construction manager for the center. If all goes as hoped, construction would begin in 2005, with completion in early 2007.

“The entire development is what we want to achieve, but an events center has always been the centerpiece of the mixed-use development,” Devereaux tells GlobeSt.com. City officials believe that building a regional destination venue such as a major events center will spur even greater economic activity in Ontario, just as it has at places like Staples Center and The Pond. The events center and other supporting development are expected to drive $7 million to $8 million in annual revenue to the city from property tax, transient occupancy tax, sales tax and operator payments.

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