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06/04/2012

Development set for former Downey aerospace site

A historic Downey manufacturing site that was a cradle of the space program and now serves as a movie studio is close to being reborn as a massive mixed-use development intended to economically reinvigorate southeast Los Angeles County.

Work is set to begin by early next year on Tierra Luna Marketplace, which would combine two big-box stores, a movie theater, a hotel, restaurants, dozens of other retailers and as much as 500,000 square feet of office space.

The 77-acre development on Lakewood Boulevard is near a sports park, the Columbia Memorial Space Center and a Kaiser Permanente hospital.

"We're going to tie all of those uses together by creating a central place for this community to be entertained, to shop and to come together," said Bob Manarino, president of Manarino Realty.

Industrial Realty Group and Manarino Realty are the developers of Tierra Luna Marketplace, which was approved by the Downey City Council this year. The project is expected to cost as much as $500 million.

"This development is a giant economic leap for Downey," Mayor Roger Brossmer said.

The project is expected to create many permanent jobs and millions of dollars in revenue for the city.

Downey Studios is expected to close by the end of the year. The film and television studio is part of a former aerospace manufacturing site dating from the 1920s that the city has worked to redevelop. At the space shuttle program's production peak decades ago, about 12,000 people, stretched over 120 acres in 40 buildings, were working on the spacecraft.

Tierra Luna means "Earth Moon" in Spanish.

roger.vincent@latimes.com