Pixel Tracker

Monday, January 21 , 2019, 1:04 am | Mostly Cloudy 57º


Lack Of Details Grounds Space Center Plan in Lompoc

With many questions still unanswered, the Lompoc City Council has decided to end exclusive negotiations with a Polish woman proposing to develop the California Space Center, effectively grounding the latest version of the project.

The council voted 3-2 on Tuesday to uphold the September notice of default advising Eva Blaisdell she had 45 days to provide missing information required under the exclusive negotiating agreement she and the city had signed months earlier.

Blaisdell submitted information at the 11th hour, but City Manager Patrick Wiemiller said the responses only cured eight of the 14 areas. 

“I don’t think the council had much choice but to make the finding they did,” Wiemiller said. 

The city had sought some of the lacking information since Lompoc issued a request for qualifications more than a year ago. Despite the missing information, the council previously had cautiously proceeded to work with Blaisdell.

Proposed for 82 acres of city land near Allan Hancock College’s Lompoc Valley Center, the for-profit, multimillion-dollar California Space Center would be a combination entertainment, education and research facility.

It would provide a launch viewing platform and a visitor center, and have an IMAX theater and a museum. Other proposed features include a hotel, restaurant, convention hall, business park, light theme-park attractions or what a one supporter called a “space Disneyland.”

“I am disappointed from the standpoint that I think a space center would be wonderful thing to have for Lompoc and for the Central Coast area,” Wiemiller said. “It would be a great amenity.”

Decked out in clothing bearing NASA's logo, Blaisdell has appeared frequently at Lompoc council meetings and other community events giving passionate speeches about her plans, while mentioning major firms such as Bechtel Engineering and Sony Media.

Lompoc officials have balked at relinquishing the land without proof the $460 million project could and would succeed, saying they have a fiduciary duty to protect the city-owned property.

Information sought included details on the development team and confirmation of investors.

A city consultant said Blaisdell, who has claimed to be a member of the Polish media and an entrepreneur previously involved in technology companies, had not provided proof of her experience as a real estate developer.

In the report, Keyser Marston Associates cited “serious concerns that an inexperienced developer can successfully implement a project of the proposed magnitude.

“At a minimum, the development team needs to include an experienced developer, architect, construction manager/general contractor and financial partner at the early stages of the process,” the report said.

This is the second time the city has had to halt development of the project, canceling an exclusive negotiation agreement with a nonprofit organization, Environmental Education Group, amid questions about the leader and doubts it could pull off the plan.

An earlier version of the space center, once planned for Vandenberg Air Force Base property off Highway 1, was canceled and later proposed for the Lompoc site. However, shortly afterward, the California Space Authority dissolved, leaving the project in limbo.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.