The Uniroyal tire factory in Commerce, Calif., was built in 1930, with a faÁade that resembled that of an Assyrian palace. The distinctive architecture made the facility a natural for reuse as a commercial and retail center, but contamination resulting from decades of tiremaking made redevelopment an economically daunting prospect.
To reduce costs, the company carefully planned construction to allow cleanup and reconstruction to proceed simultaneously, thereby providing some economies of scale. Additionally, Commerce aided redevelopment by assuming project liability and funding cleanup. (The Commerce Redevelopment Authority floated bonds and fronted $3 million for site cleanup, all of which is being repaid with sales tax revenue generated at the redeveloped site.)
The seven-year project was completed in 1997 and has since yielded handsome dividends for the city. Annual receipts at the new retail center top $100 million, generating significant sales and property tax revenue.
Hundreds of jobs have been created at the site. Furthermore, office space is filling up, providing an important complement to the commercial activity and generating tax revenue and employment opportunities.