Culver City Observer -

By Lynne Bronstein
Observer Reporter 

Parcel B Developer Is Chosen


December 6, 2011

It Will Be Mixed Use Office/Retail

After months of process, meetings, community involvement, and discussion—and following a long history of processes for redevelopment of the site at 9300 Culver Boulevard known as Parcel B—the City Council and Redevelopment Agency on Monday night finally chose a developer, Combined/Hudson Pacific, to develop a mixed-use office/retail project on the property.

A packed Council chamber waited for the decision for almost two hours, through other Council business and through a public comment session during which 17 people expressed their opinions of the process and in some cases urged the Council to choose a particular developer.

While one speaker preferred the Spanish revival style of the proposed “Paseo” project created by Runyon Group, almost everyone else who spoke in public comment favored the Combined project.

Marlyn Musicant, vice president of the Cultural Affairs Commission, spoke in favor of Combined because of the four designs submitted, it was the only one that was not designed around “a disconnected courtyard” but instead was open to the other downtown areas and responded to the surroundings.

Megan Sahli-Wells, of Culver City Downtown Neighborhood Association, noted that the Combined project’s grand staircase, patterned after Rome’s Spanish Steps, would provide “public space and ample space to sit down,” and the design “has a dynamic relationship to the downtown amenities.” It would also provide the best view of Culver Studios across the street.

Council members concurred with the majority of expressed public opinion.

“[The project] has to be realistic—viable economically, iconic, venerable, instructive, and creative,” said Council member Andrew Weissman. “It is the Combined project that will enable Parcel B to realize its potential.”

Mayor Micheal O’ Leary admitted he had come to the meeting “prepared to compromise” as he saw “pluses” for all the projects and yet also thought that none of them were “perfect.” But he also cast his vote for Combined, based on “economic concerns.”

He also wanted everyone to understand that the other three developers and their projects-Runyon with “Paseo,” Cardiff/N3 with “Parc and Main,” and Tolkin Group with “Culver X,” were not “rejected.” It had been a difficult decision, said O’ Leary, and all the developers were to be thanked for their hard work and amazing projects.

What’s next for Parcel B? With the developer selected, the Council/Agency Board will commence negotiations for a Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) for property disposition. During this process, there will be additional opportunities for public input.

The City/Agency will receive between $7 million and $8.4 million in tax revenue, which will include $257,000 to $338,000 in General Fund revenues annually, as well as approximately $1 million in one-time building permits and related fees.

The selection of a developer for Parcel B does not commit the City or Agency to sell the property. That would only be possible if an economic report was prepared and made available for public viewing and input.

The Combined project design, with its three stories of retail and office space, elevated plaza, and grand staircase, includes between 98 and 256 spaces for parking. Some speakers in public comment, like Cary Anderson, expressed concerns about the project offering enough parking. Each of the four projects included proposals for extra parking options. In the case of the Combined Project, parking will possibly be one of the issues that future meetings will attempt to refine.


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