It's been well publicized that the Forum arena in Inglewood is in the process of being bought by the L.A. Arena Co. and Faithful Central Bible Church. And those buyers expect to close before year-end, preserving the Forum for use by sports teams, ice skating shows, church services and other events.

But that scenario is not yet secure, so private real estate investment trust Casden Properties Inc. has positioned itself to swoop in to buy the 30-acre property and bulldoze the Forum, if the church deal unravels.

"We've agreed that if the church wants to buy it, we would be glad to step aside," said Alan Casden, chairman and CEO of Casden Properties. "But so far that hasn't (happened) yet."

L.A. Arena Co. officials stressed that Casden is the fall-back option.

"They really are in a back-up position, should we not be able to complete our deal with (the church)," spokesman Michael Roth said.

Casden declined to say what he thinks will happen next.

"I'm not an oddsmaker," he said. "That's left to Las Vegas."

If handed the keys to the Forum, Casden would raze the building and seek entitlement to build somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 residential units, possibly as soon as next year. The property is contiguous with 97 acres of former Hollywood Park land that Casden also is in escrow to buy from Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. for $63 million. Casden has filed plans with the city of Inglewood to build 2,000 homes, condominiums and townhouses on the Hollywood Park land, south of West 90th Street.

Meanwhile, if the deal currently in escrow does go through, the Inglewood church plans to retain L.A. Arena Co. to run the venue as a "family arena" that would help draw business to Inglewood. The church, which has 11,000 members, would hold its Sunday services at the venue and put any profits from the Forum's other operations back into the church and its community programs.

The church is now crunched into a temporary 2,500-seat, converted warehouse in Inglewood.

El Segundo Project Coming

Overton Moore Properties is closing escrow on 11.5 entitled acres in El Segundo, where it plans to build a $44 million, 216,000-square-foot, high-tech office building, according to Timur Tecimer, president of Gardena-based Overton Moore.

The land is being sold by Rockwell International and will be marketed to technology tenants primarily for creative office space. The site is located at 401 N. Douglas St., across the street from the headquarters of Candle Corp.

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