P.G. developer nails eight-figure payout for stake in desal proposal, commercial park.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
At the Dec. 19 P.G. City Council meeting, Don Lew announced his private-equity investment firm, Concord-based JDL Development, is taking immediate control of Agha’s desalination plant proposal and other assets at Agha’s Moss Landing Commercial Park.
“I’m removing myself from the operation because I have decided that if I stay out of it, that will help the project to move forward,” Agha says.
The longtime local business and real-estate mogul is known for his antagonistic stance toward California American Water, the private utility leading the state-mandated quest for a new Monterey Peninsula water supply. Agha’s proposal is being re-branded by Lew’s firm as the Regional Desalination Project at Moss Landing Commercial Park.
“We are bringing capital to the operation of that business park to develop it into a commercially successful operation,” Lew says. “We have a responsibility to push the desal project in the proper direction.”
Lew says his firm bought out Agha’s Moss Landing Commercial Park LLC for an “eight-figure” sum; neither would specify where along the $10 million to $99 million spectrum that falls.
P.G. in July signed a preliminary agreement with Agha, positioning the city as the potential lead agency in the People’s Project. But Lew told the council the project will instead be evaluated as a part of Cal Am’s Water Supply Project environmental impact report—prompting P.G. council members to ask whether the agreement is still valid.
“What we heard from Mr. Lew is that he’s taking a very different course than what we expected,” Mayor Bill Kampe says. “I think it left questions as to the direction for People’s Desal and P.G.’s relationship with them.”