A retail store will not be added to the new Sport Chalet corporate headquarters because a second phase of the development project has been canceled, according to the company’s owner.
Sport Chalet founder and owner Norbert Olberz, 77, said he tried to build various versions of the retail store and is tired of the problems it’s brought to him from the city.
“I have tried for 20 years, or more, to build a new Sport Chalet here and was shot out of the tree so many times that Ive given up,” Olberz said.
Phase II was scheduled to begin after Sport Chalet’s more than 100 corporate employees moved in October into the company’s new headquarters at 839 Houseman St.
La Canada Flintridge City Manager Jerry Fulwood said his understanding was that Phase II was delayed because the economic climate wasnt good.
Fulwood hasnt heard anything official from Sport Chalet about cancelling Phase II, he said.
“I think the ball is in their court and were here to work with them, Fulwood said.
Olberz, chairman emeritus of Sport Chalet Inc. and owner of La Canada Properties, the company that owns more than 11 acres of downtown La Canada Flintridge, said as long as he’s around the project is off.
The development of the new Sport Chalet project has been rife with conflict. In 1997 a Sport Chalet shopping center, including retail and office space, was approved by the city. The project led La Canada Flintridge voters to elect City Council representatives who would fight the development.
The conflict included a lawsuit filed by a citizens group, Friends of 91011 a La Canada Flintridge zip code and the project was rejected by the council in 1998.
“I had a building permit and a few weeks later it was reversed by the new city government, which caused me a lot of grief and years of work, Olberz said.
The approval and building of the new corporate headquarters was relatively uneventful. Olberz was discouraged when the city required Sport Chalet to place a barrier on Houseman Street, to protect neighbors from the traffic of corporate employees, he said.
“Im afraid if we were asked to put up a shopping center the city would force us to put up more barriers, and that alone is a reason not to have the shopping center, Olberz said.
In December, the Olberz Family Trust granted to SC Option LLC (a newly-formed limited liability company owned by Sport Chalet’s executive management team) an option to purchase, upon the death of Olberz, all of the shares of the common stock of the company held by the trust.
These shares, currently 4,351,972, represent about 66 percent of all outstanding shares of the company. Olberz remains Sport Chalet’s principal stockholder.
Shares of Sport Chalet closed up 55 cents to $7.31 on a modest volume of 3,350 traded Thursday on the Nasdaq.