National Medical Enterprises Inc. has canceled plans to build its $70-million corporate headquarters in Santa Monica because it says the city's building application process takes too long.
A spokesman said the international health-care company estimates that it could take three years to establish its headquarters in Santa Monica. The firm wants a faster timetable for consolidation of its corporate offices, which are now spread throughout West Los Angeles.
The company is evaluating alternative sites in the West Los Angeles area and may lease offices instead of building its own, said Paul Russell, vice president of corporate communications.
Mayor Christine E. Reed on Thursday denied that the city's building approval process is responsible for the company's decision.
"They are just saying that to place the blame on someone other than themselves," she said. "Our procedures are our procedures, and they are today exactly what they were when National Medical Enterprises announced it was coming to our city (in December)."