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Firm Scuttles Plan to Build in Santa Monica

February 16, 1986|BARBARA BAIRD | Times Staff Writer

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)."

Environmental Review

She said that the city requires an environmental review of major projects, and the approval process includes public environmental impact hearings and an architectural review. The process can usually be completed within one year, she said.

City officials and business leaders had hailed National Medical Enterprises' decision to locate in Santa Monica as evidence of the city's appeal to major businesses, and they said the move would add jobs and tax dollars to the city economy.

Plans had called for a 350,000-square-foot, six-story office building in the first phase of development, with 150,000 square feet of construction added later, officials said.

The project was to have consolidated the company's corporate offices on a 5.7-acre site bounded by Olympic and Cloverfield boulevards, Colorado Avenue and 26th Street.

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