Citing an alleged “pattern of astonishingly gross financial and project mismanagement,” developers of the planned Outlet Mall in Carson have sued the City for $80 million and effectively scuttled the project.
The developers claim Carson has not fulfilled its pledge to utilize $27 million to clean up the site, which was previously a landfill.
At the May 5 council meeting, Mayor Al Robles stated that “the City is not in any way shape or form liable,” adding “there is no truth, in my opinion, or validity to the lawsuit.”
The lawsuit was filed by the prospective developer of the project, Cam-Carson, which is a partnership between Santa Monica’s Macerich and Simon Property Group, which also owns Torrance’s Del Amo Fashion Center and is among the largest shopping mall owners in the U.S. A sub-contractor, Pacific Steel Group, filed a separate $1.25 million lawsuit against the City in June related to the same project.
At the June 23 council meeting, City Attorney Sunny Soltani provided a presentation noting similar lawsuits filed by Simon Property Group across the country.
In one example, Simon was reported to have sued the owners of the Beverly Center Mall in June 2020 and terminated a $3.6 billion deal. They have also reportedly sued the GAP clothing stores for missed rent payments, as well as other name brand tenants of their other properties.
Mayor Robles responded to Soltani’s presentation calling the lawsuit against Carson “bogus” and a legal “tactic” to gain leverage against the City.
The 46-acre Los Angeles Premium Outlets project, located just off the 405 Freeway at Avalon Boulevard, was initially proposed in 2018, broke ground in August 2019 and was set to open in 2021. This same site was once envisioned for an NFL stadium, and previous plans for retail and entertainment projects fell through.
The center was expected to feature approximately 120 retail stores creating roughly 1,700 construction jobs and 1,800 permanent jobs. It was estimated to produce $4 million per year in local sales tax.