Culver City Observer -

By Lynne Bronstein
Observer Reporter 

Parcel B Development Gets Closer


September 15, 2011

A development for Parcel B (otherwise known as 9300 Culver Boulevard) is moving closer to reality as the City Council and Redevelopment Agency received and filed a report outlining the process for selecting a developer at their meeting Monday night.

In February the Council and Agency approved a two-step process to select a developer for Parcel B. Step One involved issuing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to identify firms that would be most qualified to develop it.

In June, the firms were selected: Macerich, Tolkin Group, Combined/Hudson Pacific, Cardiff/N3, and Runyon Partners.

(Macerich later informed city staff that it would not continue the process due to uncertainty in a soft market about tenanting the upper floors of the development for office use).

Step Two involved issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) which was issued on July 8. Responses were due on September 8.

The proposed projects are to be reviewed by the Council and Agency during meetings on October 3 and 4. Each firm, said director of Community Development Sol Blumenfeld, will give a 15-munute presentation, which will be followed by a Q & A session with the Council/Agency and the public.

In November, staff will make its final recommendation to the Council and Agency on selecting a developer.

Blumenfeld also said that some of the developers will have presentation boards with designs for their projects, which might be on display in the city hall lobby. Two developers have submitted their proposals digitally and staff is still trying to figure out how to present their designs to the public.

In public comment, speaker Cary Anderson expressed concern that, according to the information he had received at a community workshop on Parcel B, low-cost housing is not included among the plans by any of the developers. He wondered also if the Redevelopment Agency would be able to fulfill the quota for creating units of housing.

“The Council made a decision to go forward with the current entitlements,” said Blumenfeld. He said that housing was not included in those entitlements due to possible conflicts with the environmental impact report. The proposals that have been received fulfill the current entitlements and no mixed-use projects have been proposed.

Scott Malsin clarified Anderson’s comment on Redevelopment Agency quotas for low-cost housing. “[The Agency] does not have an obligation to create 500 units of housing.”

He said he would want to know more about the “track records” of the developers in regard to bringing in tenants who would be appropriate for downtown.

Andrew Weissman said “It’s important to factor in retention of site,” and that “experience in tenanting is important.” For him, the project had to not only look good but be successful. “We don’t want a pretty building with a labyrinth of vacancies.”

Christopher Armenta asked Blumenfeld for more particulars about how staff would present the projects. Blumenfeld promised that staff would give a “qualitative and quantitative analysis,” of the projects.

Jeffrey Cooper hoped the public would be able to look at the proposals on the city web site.

And Mayor Micheal O’ Leary joked that there did not seem to be enough ”excitement” about the projected development.

“This is tremendous!” he exulted, noting of course, that the Council members were undoubtedly enthusiastic but were being subdued given the past history (about 20 years) of culver city trying to find a use for Parcel B.

In other actions, the Council voted to create an Ad-Hoc subcommittee for drafting the arguments in favor of and in rebuttal to the argument against a measure to increase the city’s transient occupancy (hotel) tax.

The subcommittee will be composed of Mayor O’ Leary and Vice Mayor Malsin. The subcommittee will be in charge of the drafting of the argument and will submit the draft to the City Council no later than October 24, 2011 (for the argument in favor) and November 14 (for the rebuttal argument against) at which time the Council will also consider dissolution of the subcommittee.

In a brief public hearing the Council adopted a resolution approving the issuance of tax exempt bonds by California Municipal Finance Authority for the HELP Group to refund existing debt.


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