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Hearings Requested on Colorado Place Plans

October 24, 1985

Southmark Pacific Corp. has formally asked the city of Santa Monica to allow changes in previously approved plans for the completion of Colorado Place.

Southmark President Paul J. Giuntini submitted the company's request to City Manager John Jalili on Friday, asking for hearings Dec. 2 with the Planning Commission and Dec. 10 with the City Council.

In recent weeks, Southmark has met with city officials and community residents to show off its revised plan for the second half of the $225-million commercial development.

The controversial plan calls for a 13-story, 262-room hotel and three office buildings on the northern half of the 15-acre project, bounded by Colorado Avenue, 26th Street, Broadway and Cloverfield Boulevard. The previous plan was for two nine-story hotel towers with 396 rooms and two office buildings.

The new proposal also includes a 1.5-acre park at Colorado Place and a 3.3 acre park a few blocks away, while the earlier plan called for about 3.5 acres of park, all at Colorado Place. Some residents have objected to the location of the 3.3-acre park because they say it is too far from residential neighborhoods. Others liked it because it is large enough for playing fields.

The city required the original owner, Becket Investment Corp., to build 41 units of low- and moderate-priced housing in conjunction with the first phase of Colorado Place, and Southmark has offered to give the city the land on which that housing was built. Southmark also has offered to give the city $2.5 million to build 59 housing units required for the second phase.

Giuntini said Southmark is seeking changes in the plan because the original hotel was too large and it would have been difficult to finance. This made the entire second phase "unfeasible as designed," he said in his letter to Jalili.

Southmark hopes for December hearings with the city in order to begin demolition by Dec. 30 and start construction "no later than Feb. 1, 1986," Giuntini said.

"Our ability to proceed as soon as possible provides us with certainty as to interest rates, the local hotel and leasing markets and the tax laws," he said.

Giuntini noted that the development agreement governing Colorado Place expires Aug. 1, after which the project would be subject to more generous provisions in the city's land-use element.

"Expiration of the development agreement means further delays and uncertainty for the project, and also implies that neither the hotel and neighborhood park nor the affordable housing commitments are guaranteed," he said.

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