Garden Grove Council Postpones Vote on Demolition of Galleria Project

The Garden Grove City Council Tuesday postponed a vote on the demolition of the nine-story steel structure known as the Garden Grove Galleria project, until the end of May, after pleas from the developers to give them more time to find an alternative.

Last week it appeared that council members were ready to approve a longstanding demolition order after the owner of the property, the nonprofit Emlen W. Hoag Foundation, decided it would no longer work with the developers — Cathay General Bankcorp and Brooks Street — to move the project forward.

And that seemed to be the sentiment at the beginning of Tuesday evening’s council meeting.

“What we’re seeing here is parties that are not even in communication, and that won’t lead anywhere,” said Mayor Bao Nguyen. “[The demolition order] has been extended too long, beyond too long.”

Councilman Phat Bui agreed.

“In my heart, I think, let’s give it more time. But my brain is telling me, no you shouldn’t do it,” said Bui. “I see almost zero hope this will have any turnaround.”

But councilman Steve Jones convinced his colleagues to let the dispute play out until next year before voting on the demolition order, arguing that demolishing the structure now would be hasty, and destroy millions of dollars of work that another developer could build upon.

“Frankly I think it’s a deadweight loss to get rid of the structure. I’d be more inclined to give them more time…because of the end result of what [the project] could be for the community,” Jones said.

The council voted to 3-2, with Nguyen and Chris Phan voting no, to continue the item until the end of May 2016.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.