By LARRY KANTER
By eliminating lengthy and frustrating traffic delays, the Alameda Corridor could provide a boost to the industrial real estate market in L.A.'s rust-belt cities of Vernon, Huntington Park, South Gate and Compton.
But the two to three years it will take to build the $2 billion transportation project are expected to wreak temporary havoc in the corridor area, which is making the market an increasingly difficult sell in the short-term, brokers say.
With a fleet of earth-movers and bulldozers soon to be dispatched to streets already clogged with trucks and trains, upcoming construction of the corridor has real estate brokers and businesses in the area bracing for even more gridlock than usual.
"In the short run, the Alameda Corridor probably will bring down (real estate) values a bit," said Paul Sablock, an industrial broker with the Seeley Co. who has worked in the area for the past 18 years. "People are afraid of what's going to happen to their businesses. I haven't lost a deal to it yet. But I have had to hold a lot of hands."
Sablock and others say that once completed, the corridor which is expected to reduce traffic snarls by moving train traffic below grade could provide untold marketing opportunities and attract new tenants to the jumble of aging brick warehouses, distribution facilities and manufacturing plants in L.A.'s vast industrial heartland.
"It will be a short-term disruption with a real good long-term gain," Sablock said.
The Alameda Corridor is a 20-mile, high-speed railroad line designed to speed cargo from the ports of L.A. and Long Beach to the railyard distribution centers near downtown Los Angeles.
The heart of the project is a 10-mile-long trench of depressed railway running along Alameda Street, beginning at Santa Fe Avenue in L.A. and continuing south to state Route 91 in Compton. The concrete trench will be approximately 50 feet wide and 30 feet deep, and will include two railroad and 26 highway overcrossings. The corridor also includes a number of grade separations at its northern and southern ends, as well as the widening of Alameda Street for increased truck traffic, which will remain at grade level.
Three companies have submitted bids to construct the trench Bechtel Infrastructure Corp., Kiewit Pacific Corp. and Tutor Saliba Corp. The Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority, the agency overseeing the project, is expected to choose the contractor in September. The digging of the trench is expected to begin in mid-1999. The entire corridor is scheduled for completion in 2001.
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