The owner of the Saugus Swap Meet refuted online reports Monday that the longtime flea market in the center of town is scheduled to shut down at the end of next month.
However, in a brief phone interview he did say he can’t guarantee its future much beyond that, acknowledging that’s likely where the rumors might have started.
Doug Bonelli, whose family has owned the land for generations, acknowledged a confidentiality agreement was in place regarding the property back in February 2023, when The Signal broke the news of a movie studio’s plans for the property.
He said Monday there are agreements in place but factors beyond his control are preventing a formal announcement.
Plans for a mixed-use partnership on the property by Shadowbox Studios, the international studio company, and Integral, a home developer, called the Riverview Project, were obtained by The Signal through a Public Records Act request.
Those plans, which were submitted to the city of Santa Clarita in October 2021, call for six 11,000-square-foot sound stages and a parking structure, which would be the commercial, studio portion of the 40-acre Saugus property off Soledad Canyon Road. There would also be 318 residential units subdivided into five lots, along with recreational amenities, which would be the home-builder’s portion.
While the city expressed a great deal of support and ultimately approved Shadowbox’s other proposal in the city — a much larger a 93-acre full-service film and television studio with 19 soundstages and support facilities — Bonelli alluded to “factors beyond (his) control” that might be holding up any deal on his property.
Namely, while city planners received the proposal for the land in 2022, the city’s Planning Commission would need to first authorize the changes, including the environmental impact report, which would be done at a public hearing yet to take place.
That makes it unlikely any announcement from either proposed developer would come before the city’s Planning Commission formally signs off on the new plans for the property, according to a source familiar with the pending deal but not authorized to speak on the record about it.
Patrick Leclair, the city’s planning manager, wrote in an email Monday afternoon the project has not been set for consideration yet; however, the review could be ready for a public hearing by late spring or early summer.
Based on a Planning Commission agenda update given last month by Leclair, the earliest likely date for the plan’s review would be May or June.