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MARINA DEL REY : Board Approves Construction of Ralphs Market

August 28, 1994|SUSAN STEINBERG

Despite objections from hundreds of residents, the Los Angeles zoning board has granted a permit that will allow construction of a 48,000-square-foot Ralphs supermarket on Lincoln Boulevard.

The Board of Zoning Appeals, responding to residents' objections to the project, denied Ralphs request to be open 24 hours, allowing the store to operate only from 6 a.m. to midnight.

The company must also install double-paned windows and air conditioners as noise buffers on the adjacent units of the 685-unit Villa Marina condominium complex. Ralphs officials said they were uncertain when construction would begin.

Residents from Villa Marina have fought the project for almost two years, contending a market on the former GTE site would create too much noise and traffic and would annoy neighbors with its parking lot lights.

The project's approval has not fazed Terry Conner, who has lead neighborhood opposition.

Conner said he was told by a Ralphs official that the project would not go forward if a proposed merger of Ralphs Grocery Co. and the Yucaipa Cos., owners of Alpha Beta, Food for Less and Marina Market, is completed.

Conner said he is so certain that the project will be killed that he said the group is already focusing on opposing any future tenant that would lead to increased traffic and noise.

A Ralph's official, however, maintained that the project will go forward.

"I'd be very surprised if a Ralphs official indicated (the project would be stopped)," said Sandy Yavitz, Ralphs Grocery Co. vice president of real estate.

The tentative merger, in which the Yucaipa Cos. would acquire Ralphs, remains under negotiation. Property developer Jim Wood, who is purchasing the site in order to lease it to the grocery chain, said he was told by Ralphs officials to continue on.

If the merger is completed, some stores in overlapping areas can be expected to close, while an undetermined number of Alpha Beta stores would be converted to Ralphs outlets, sources have told The Times. Some Ralphs stores might also be converted to operate under the Food 4 Less warehouse format.

Yavitz declined to comment on the possibility of conversions.

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