The City Council paved the way Monday night for a formerly shelved Culver Boulevard redevelopment project to go forward.
The council voted unanimously to come up with a process for soliciting proposals from developers interested in the project at 9300 Culver Boulevard, otherwise known as Parcel B.
City officials say they hope developers can transform the parcel from a parking lot into a structure with an “iconic design” that blends seamlessly with its surroundings. However, many Culver City residents said they felt they had little to no say in the project, which the city halted more than a year ago due to a lack of funds even though officials had already approved a design for the development.
“There should be a way for people to have input, whatever the process. We wound up with a very unpopular design,” Tom Camarella said of the previous plans for the project, adding the development is “going to be the most important building in Culver City.”
The city first attempted to develop the empty lot on the corner of Washington and Culver Boulevards in 2009. The plot borders the iconic and the Culver Studios mansion.
But those plans fell through when the developer failed to secure the necessary loans to complete the project. The city had already approved an architectural design for the proposed development, which was a three-story building housing retail and office spaces.
Now, the city wants to resurrect the project using the same entitlements, or, pre-approvals; reissuing permits and other entitlements would add unnecessary time and expense to the undertaking, officials said.
The city Redevelopment Agency held a to discuss how the parcel should be developed. Monday’s meeting marked the next step in the process of bringing the project to fruition.
“We all want the same thing.” said. “A unique, quality design.”
Culver City Chamber of Commerce President Steven Rose said the time had come to finally complete Parcel B; the public has had numerous opportunities to provide input, and further delay would hamper the city from moving forward.
“We need a project that will help Culver City now and help Culver City 20 years from now,” he said.
Backlot Film Festival president and Scene Dock owner Ross Hawkins suggested turning the building into a motion museum honoring Culver City’s history as the “.”
“From 1924 until the mid-1960s, 55 percent of all the motion pictures made in the
U.S. were produced in Culver City. A theatre attached to the museum could earn enough income to help pay the cost of the museum,” he said. “The entire collection of original music scores from a major studio is gathering dust on the back lot of a motion picture studios in Burbank. The collection of the first Art Director Ben Carre is buried in the basement at a major university. “
Carre worked in Culver City as an art director and scenic designer from 1919 until 1966. The museum could become a home for these and other treasures, Hawkins said.
restaurant owner Ken Kaufman said he, like Rose, wants to see the city take action in completing the project.
“The talks have gone on long enough,” he said.