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Planning Board OKs New Medical Center Building

December 15, 1987|DEAN MURPHY | Times Staff Writer

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has won approval from a key city commission to build an eight-story research building, despite outcries from homeowners groups that the project does little to alleviate a critical parking shortage in the congested area around the Beverly Center shopping mall.

The Los Angeles Planning Commission, by a 5-0 vote, approved the 151,000-square-foot facility after a series of hospital officials and representatives from health and medical organizations attested to the need for an expanded research center. The facility, which must also receive City Council approval, would be built on the site of the hospital's 30,000-square-foot Halper Building, a structure that hospital officials say is overcrowded and outdated.

In gaining commission endorsement of the project last week, Cedars-Sinai agreed to a moratorium on other construction until the city has approved a master development plan for the facility, something city officials said could take two to three years. The medical complex, next to Beverly Center, is in an area of intense development, with four other major projects under way nearby: LaCienega Hotel, Ma Maison Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel and the Dart Square shopping mall.

The commission rejected several major demands made by the leaders of area homeowners groups who, along with Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky's office, had been negotiating with the hospital about parking and other concerns. The commission denied requests that the hospital provide free parking for research center employees and that the new development include at least 500 parking spaces.

Residents have complained for years that employees of the medical center park in residential neighborhoods because there is not enough parking at the facility and that they do not want to pay for the parking that is available. They argued that only free and abundant parking at the new research center will address that problem.

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