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La Puerta property sold, fence goes up, angers residents

The third time may be the charm for the Claremont Unified School District, as they have announced a potential new buyer for the La Puerta property.

During Thursday night’s meeting, the board unanimously approved entering into an agreement with Trumark Homes to purchase the property for $13,058,000.

Escrow is scheduled to last 24 months, according to the staff report.

This will be the third buyer for the 9.7-acre property, located at 2475 N. Forbes Ave. and used to be the home of La Puerta Intermediate School. Brandywine Homes and Claremont Lincoln University rescinded purchase offers in 2014 and 2015.

CUSD Superintendent of Business Services Lisa Shoemaker said that after those two unsuccessful attempts, the district entered into a negotiated sale, “where we can reach out to potential developers for someone, a developer or company, that could best have the highest ability or most likely opportunity to actually bring closure and fruition to a residential development project.”

“So we wanted to actually speak with developers who would understand the complexities of the property, of the neighborhood, of the town, and be collaborative and transparent in that process,” Ms. Shoemaker added.

Ms. Shoemaker said the district is hopeful Trumark Homes is that developer, who “will engage in that process and bring a project to fruition so that we can sell the property and realize revenues that can be utilized for our capital facilities and benefit our students.”

Meanwhile, a green construction fence has been put up around the property, causing concern from nearby residents.

Ms. Shoemaker told the COURIER in a previous phone interview that the fence was put up for safety purposes as the condition of the unused property declined.

Lisa Hahn Smith, who lives on Forbes Avenue across the street, claimed during public comment that at least one potential buyer of her home has walked away due to the fence, and claimed kids and other individuals have been climbing over the fence on to the property.

“By placing a cheap, ugly fence on a property that has been vacant and unfenced for approximately 35 years, you have caused me economic harm,” Ms. Hahn Smith said. “The value of my house has been devalued by your action.”

More on this story will be available in next week’s issue of the COURIER.

Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com