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Santa Monica Council to Vote on Colorado Place Cutback : Developer Balks at Reducing Project

August 27, 1987|DAVID RISSER | Times Staff Writer

The developer of the third phase of the Colorado Place project claims it cannot afford to build the massive office-retail complex in Santa Monica if the City Council approves a Planning Commission recommendation to reduce its size by nearly 30%.

The Planning Commission on Monday approved a development agreement with Southmark Pacific Corp. that would scale down the project from 1 million to 731,000 square feet.

The third phase of Colorado Place would be built on land bounded by Colorado Avenue, 20th Street and Olympic and Cloverfield boulevards. The first phase has been completed and the second is being built on nearby land that borders Colorado Avenue.

Southmark spokeswoman Rita Prelvitz said reduction of the proposed project's size "economically does not allow the project to be feasible."

The commission's action is "a no-growth policy that I can't imagine any developer could live with," Prelvitz said.

Southmark had hoped the third phase would include a nine-story hotel, 675,000 square feet of office space, a health club and shops.

Planning Commission members cited concerns raised by residents who believe the project would cause traffic gridlock, worsen air pollution and strain city services. The commission received more than 200 letters from residents opposed to the third phase.

"Its adverse effects are likely to be substantially lower" with the reduction in the size of the project, Commissioner Mehrdad Farivar said.

The action was a "fairly direct way of dealing with the traffic issue," according to senior city planner Kenyon Webster.

Commissioners also said Colorado Place should be reduced to help accommodate commercial development planned in the area.

"We cannot look at this project as an isolated project. . . . Our decision should take into account all the large projects," Farivar said.

"We have on the books millions of square feet of development in this area that we are required to look at," said commission Chairwoman Eileen Hecht. Several projects of more than a million square feet each are planned in a commercial corridor along Olympic Boulevard.

The commission has sent "a clear signal to development agreements in the future," Commissioner Penny Perlman said. "I see an incremental easing-off" of the amount of office and retail space allowed, she said.

The commission also recommended that it be allowed to review the development during its estimated 10-year construction period and make changes as the office district is developed.

The commission also strengthened the affirmative action section of the development agreement and increased the size of open plaza areas on the corners of the project from 30,000 to 50,000 square feet.

The commission made about 20 other minor revisions in the development agreement.

"The commission really did a thorough and careful review. . . . It was a good job," Webster said.

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