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LOCAL ELECTIONS / DOWNEY : Plan for Subsidized Theater Complex Loses, 52% to 48%

May 19, 1993|HOWARD BLUME | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A plan to spiff up Downey's struggling downtown with a city-subsidized theater complex was defeated Tuesday in a citywide referendum.

With all precincts reporting, Measure A--which would have established zoning for a 2,500-seat theater--failed 4,534 to 4,127. A companion measure to approve an agreement with the developer failed 4,683 to 4,020.

Supporters of the proposed development had argued that a 10- to 12-screen theater would entertain residents and attract foot traffic, restaurants and shops to downtown. But opponents called the project a bad deal that would create traffic snarls and act as a magnet for gang members.

"If you look at what's there, a logical person would have to say no," said Michael Sullivan, a vocal opponent of the proposed development. Sullivan charged that city officials had a poor understanding of what Downey residents wanted.

The City Council approved the theater complex in November, but opponents put the development on hold by gathering enough signatures to force the referendum.

The city's agreement with Krikorian Premiere Theatres Inc. had called for the city to sell 2.13 acres of downtown Downey to developer George Krikorian for $1. In exchange, Krikorian would have spent an estimated $10 million to build the theater and a free parking garage.

The theater would have replaced a city parking area and a vacant lot. A county courthouse once occupied the site, and the city purchased the land for $1.3 million in 1991 when the court moved to a newer building.

Some critics said that traffic from the theater complex would have overwhelmed the small streets nearby, and the proposed 355-space garage would have been too small.

SOUTHLAND ELECTION RETURNS

Counting of late and absentee ballots could alter the outcome in some races.

DOWNEY

37 of 37 precincts reporting Measure A

Shall the city's zoning be changed to permit a theater complex in the downtown?

VOTE % No 4,534 52 Yes 4,127 48

Measure B

Shall the city's agreement with developer George Krikorian to build the complex be adopted?

VOTE % No 4,683 54 Yes 4,020 46

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