June 30, 1997 - From the June, 1997 issue

Inside Planning: Ridley-Thomas Calls for CRA-LAHD Review, Board Approves Glendale Plaza and more!

People/Briefly

Another of the many reorganizations in Mayor Riordan's office is expected this month. Dep. Mayor for Econ. Dev. Gary Mendoza is among the most likely to leave. 

Ray Watson, Vice Chairman of the Irvine Co., received the 1997 Sumigarden Award for lifetime achievement in real estate at the UC Irvine Real Estate Conference in May. Watson has been with the Irvine Company since 1960. 

Project Restore has elected four new Board Members: Former Cultural Affairs Commission President and current Vice Chair of the SCI-Arc Board, Merry Norris of Merry Norris Contemporary Art; Marjorie Steinberg, partner at the law firm of Tuttle & Tuttle; Erwin Tomash former National Governor and Southern California Chairman of CORO; and historic structures expert Nabih Youssef of Nabih Youssef & Associates. The So. Calif. Housing Develop­ment Corp. named James W. Aliberti Director of Property Management. Real estate consulting firm Kosmont & Associates has named Former KMG Consulting CFO Thomas R. Jirovsky Senior Vice President. 

One of two firms developing the former GM assembly plant site in Van Nuys, The Voit Cos. won the City of L.A. Contract to build a $35 million, 210,000 s.f. mixed-use building, key to Van Nuys Civic Center redevelopment plans. The Newhall Land & Farming Company announced this month the relocation of Princess Cruise Lines Customer Service Center to a planned 130,000 s.f. mixed-use building in Valencia. An EIR is nearing completion for the 250-acre Marble Coastal project in San Clemente. Up to 400 homes and a 750,000 s.f. retail center are being proposed for the site by an Irvine-based limited partnership including SDC Partners.

Notes

Ridley-Thomas Calls for CRA­LAHD Review 

In the wake of L.A. Housing Department General Manager Gary Squire's Resignation last month, City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas has renewed calls for a comprehensive review of the LAHD and the Community Redevelopment Agency. The Councilman has suggested perhaps consolidating the two agencies.

Cathedral Street Widening 

Following outcry last month over plans to widen Grand, Hill and Temple Streets around the planned Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Bunker Hill, a compromise has been reached. Saying that all parties agree in spirit, the Community Redevelopment Agency and the Department of Transportation will honor long-standing requirements to widen Temple Street, but will leave Grand and Hill intact, for now. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which is building the Cathedral, has agreed to dedicate land along Grand and Hill for possible future widenings, but none are currently planned. The CRA and DOT have gone on to promise Civic Center Master Plan officials that they will "do their best" to ensure that Temple—and, possibly Grand and Hill—will be the last streets to be widened in the area. 

Strategic Plan for CD 7 

A consultant will be named next month to study creating a redevelopment area in the 600 acres around Hanson Dam, essentially encompassing all of Richard Alarcon 's Council District 7. Funding for the strategic plan will come from the Community Redevelopment Agency and the DWP, which owns an unused steam generating plant in the area. Officials envision primarily industrial and housing development. 

Santa Monica—Urban Design 

The Downtown Urban Design Plan's steering committee meets June 12 to deal with outstanding issues including the medians on Ocean Ave. and Wilshire Blvd., the number and location of parking spaces, and the public art component. The proposed transit mall segment along Santa Monica Blvd starting at Ocean may end at 5th rather than 7th Street to allow street parking for the boulevard's retail stores. 

County Hall of Justice Reuse 

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With its Historic Core leases set to expire soon, the Board of Public works is eyeing the earthquake-damaged and closed County Hall of Justice for its new headquarters. Cost of rehabilitating the 400,000 s.f. building would be roughly $150 per s.f. With subsidies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, costs could drop as low as $75/s.f. Insiders say both the County (which still owns the building) and the City are "very positive" about the possible deal. 

Inglewood Multiplex Still Alive 

Inglewood's first major Downtown redevelopment project since the eighties remains in limbo, but isn't dead, as redevelopment staff tackle concerns Council raised over employment and environmental issues in March. The City desperately wants development Downtown, but it is seeking guarantees that the 12 to 14-screen multiplex project being proposed by K&L International Partners will employ local community members. 

Capital Gains Tax Anti-Urban? 

Oregon Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer is proposing a bill to exclude from taxation up to $500,000 in home sale capital gains for joint filers. The Congressman says his proposal would fuel revitalization of deteriorating areas by removing the tax-disincentives for suburbanites to reinvest in older areas. Studies show many home sellers turn around and buy a more expensive house, largely to avoid paying taxes on their capital gains. 

Board Approves Glendale Plaza 

The Glendale Design Review board approved plans for the PacTen Partners-Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund II, LP office project with only minor changes including some to the building's skin. The 24-story, 550,000 s.f. on Brand Ave. is set to break ground this summer.

Airport Solicitations Ban Blocked 

U.S. District Judge John G. Davies granted a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks enforcement of a ban on solicitation al LAX passed by the L.A. City Council earlier this year. Veteran First Amendment Attorneys Barry Fisher, David Liberman and Deborah filed suit on behalf of the Society for Krishna Consciousness and the Committee for Human Rights in Iran. Action from City attorneys is expected this week. 

For the Record 

The Santa Monica City Council has not yet scheduled action on the City's Circulation Element, as we reported in the previous issue. Public comment on the proposed Universal Studios expansion project has ended only for the City/County joint hearing process. Public comment will continue before each body.

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