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By Jim Shilander

A representative from Lehman Brothers told the San Clemente City Council Tuesday the company was proceeding with a number of infrastructure improvements to the Marblehead property before selling it to allow for a planned residential development.

Lehman representative Lisa Gordon said the company hired a general contractor to manage work at the site. She said highest priority items were the completion of both West Avenida Vista Hermosa and Avenida Pico, as well as making progress on Pico and Sunset parks and the first phase of the site’s trail system and habitat restoration. The Vista Hermosa bridge was “pretty much complete,” Gordon said.

Gordon also said the investment bank would not be building the residential development, but planned to sell off the asset after completing the infrastructure work. Lehman declared bankruptcy five years ago this week, setting off the global financial crisis.

Gordon said work on Pico would be completed in the first quarter of next year, with Vista Hermosa following in the second. The question, she said, would be whether enough progress would be able to be made on the trails and parks to allow the roads to be opened to commuters. The roads cannot be opened for commuters until progress is begun on the other amenities, Gordon told the council.

The residential component and commercial development at the site have been in the offing years, but due to the uncertainty surrounding Lehman’s financial situation, progress on the infrastructure had not been advanced until earlier this year. The planned commercial development, owned by Craig Realty Group, had been scheduled to open in time for the 2014 holiday shopping season.

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