For Culver City residents who have complained over the years about the paucity of theaters in town, there's good news and bad news.
A developer wants to build a six-screen theater complex on Washington Boulevard across from the Filmland Corporate Center, near "The Heart of Screenland," as the city likes to call itself.
But the site of the planned complex, known as Culver Plaza, is near the city's aging downtown, technically just across the border in Los Angeles. So Los Angeles would receive the tax and business license revenues, and Culver City would get parking shortages and most of the traffic congestion.
"From what I understand, although (the project) meets the Los Angeles city codes for parking, it is still quite a bit short of what Culver City would require," said Culver City Mayor Paul Jacobs. "For that reason, I'm concerned about it."
Besides the six-screen, 1,500-seat theater complex, the two-story project at Washington Boulevard and Hughes Avenue is designed to contain 10,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 2,500 square feet of office space, according to City Atty. Joseph Pannone.
Plans for the project also include an underground parking garage with 289 spaces and an additional 30 parking spaces on the surface, Pannone said.
The city filed an appeal in May to block a building permit issued to ASR Development Co. and is negotiating with the Los Angeles-based company's president for measures to mitigate traffic and parking problems, Pannone said.
Pannone would not comment on what the city is asking for in its negotiations. ASR Development Co. President Stuart Rubin could not be reached for comment.
About two years ago, the Culver City Council rejected a proposal for a multiscreen theater at the Studio Village shopping center near Jefferson and Sepulveda boulevards because of the impact it would have on traffic and parking in the area, Jacobs said.
"Now, to have a project practically in our downtown area that would generate the same kind of impact is a little frustrating," Jacobs said.
But not everyone thinks the project will be totally bad for Culver City.
"I'm probably not as upset about it as I should be because I love movies so much," said Culver City Councilwoman Jozelle Smith.
Smith, who is also chairwoman of the city's Redevelopment Agency, said she, too, is concerned about the project's inadequate parking and the traffic it will generate.
"But I love the idea that there will be theaters, and I love the idea that they're calling it Culver Plaza. It will help us get back to our image as 'The Heart of Screenland,' " she said. "It's too bad we're not getting any financial benefits, but at least it's putting theaters within reach of our residents."
Smith and Jacobs both acknowledged the irony of Culver City officials' complaining about a project in neighboring Los Angeles just as they are about to vote on Marina Place, a proposed regional shopping center in west Culver City that would have great negative impact on nearby Los Angeles residents and offer few benefits in return.
"Although there is little resemblance between the two projects, they are very analogous in that they are both projects in a different city that will have some direct impact on another city," Jacobs said.
The council will discuss the Marina Place proposal, which includes a six-screen theater complex, at its meeting Monday.