OAKLEY -- Instead of newly built retail space sitting empty for what could be nearly a year, the city will shop around for businesses willing to lease it temporarily.

The City Council voted Tuesday to start soliciting lease proposals for the retail building that's being built next to Carpaccio Ristorante, which is also under construction in the Oakley Plaza shopping center on Main Street.

The space could house two small retailers or one average-size store.

Unless the city finds temporary tenants, a new law could result in the building remaining unoccupied until the state has approved its plans to sell the property.

When redevelopment agencies were dismantled in February, nearly all cities assumed the role of "successor agencies," a separate legal entity. These successor agencies are required to sell off the redevelopment agencies' assets.

In Oakley's case, that means disposing of the retail building, which, along with two restaurants going up in the shopping center, are being built entirely with redevelopment money.

But legislation enacted in June requires successor agencies first to submit their plans for disposing of assets to a local oversight board as well as the state for approval.

City officials fear that it could be nearly a year before the state signs off on Oakley's plan and a tenant has made whatever changes it needs to the store's interior, time during which the structure isn't generating sales tax revenue or providing jobs and creates an eyesore.

"I think it would be wise to get something in there as soon as possible," said Mayor Kevin Romick, noting that he passes Antioch's downtown on his daily commute to work and finds the empty storefronts there "demoralizing."

So council members are opting for a workaround: Lease the space temporarily, and then, after the oversight board and state approve the plan, the city would buy it from the successor agency and lease it out again on a long-term basis.

Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.