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Culver City Picks Combined Properties to Develop Parcel B

In a unanimous vote Monday night, the City Council chose a project designed by a local architect that features a giant stairway in downtown Culver City.

The joint Culver City Council and Redevelopment Agency Board voted unanimously to begin exclusive negotiations with Combined Properties and Hudson Pacific Properties to redevelop the lot at 9300 Culver Blvd., better known as .

"This is a fantastic night for Culver City," said Vice Mayor and Redevelopment Agency Board Chair Scott Malsin at Monday night's special meeting.

Mayor Micheál O'Leary said he was actually surprised by the unanimous vote. expressed some surprise that his colleagues were so unified.

"I came here prepared to compromise," he said.

The proposal, designed by Culver City architect Steve Ehrlich, features a four-floor mixed use building with a huge stairway leading onto the downtown plaza in front of the Culver Hotel. Combined won the contract over proposals from the Tolkin Group, Cardiff Realty and The Runyon Group.

"I'm very excited and very humbled," Marianne Lowenthal, executive vice president of Combined Partners, Inc., told Patch following the meeting. "I think the process worked very well. It gave everybody a chance to give input."

Eighteen local residents spoke during the public comments section, with many of them in favor of Combined's proposal.

"[The stairway] creates a public space," resident Meghan Sahli-Wells told Patch, adding that visitors would be able to sit on the stairs.

She also noted that Combined's proposal did the most to feature the distinctive Southern-style mansion at Culver Studios, which will sit right next to the development.

The road to choosing a developer has been an unusually public one, with multiple meetings being held on the project. In October, the four competing developers presented their projects over a two-night period and the proposals were on display in City Hall and on the City's website during the two-month deliberation process.

During Monday night's public comments section, residents took the time to thank the council for its transparency on the issue.

"I'd like to congratulate you on the process," said city historian and resident Julie Lugo Cerra."This has all been far better than the other [development attempts]."

Following the meeting, Jon Tolkin, president of the Tolkin Group was philosophical about losing out on the contract.

"I'm excited for the city," Tolkin told Patch, adding that the Tolkin Group would be happy to be considered again if something falls through with Combined.

"We're disappointed, but you win some, you lose some," he said.

Culver City Chamber of Commerce President Steve Rose said he was happy Combined's project had been chosen, but noted that, "It's the first step down the road. Now, we need to get it designed, built and leased."

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Mary McGrath December 07, 2011 at 01:37 PM
This is great news for Culver City. Anything to help our parking problem is appreciated. Plus, it will add to the beauty of the city.
Jane Dough December 07, 2011 at 09:25 PM
The only parking problem we have downtown is that many motorists park at the Watseka and Cardiff structures, instead of the Washington/Ince structure behind Trader Joe's. The good news is electronic signs will be installed soon along the roadways to let motorists know the number of spaces available in all three structures, revealing that the Washington/Ince structure is currently only half full, which will help to direct motorists and alleviate the perception that insufficient parking is available downtown.
Richard December 08, 2011 at 12:09 AM
As a local residents, I hope there will be some retail space for businesses other than just more restaurants. It would great to have some shops and services we could actually use. Downtown is lacking retail spaces that serves the community, both who live here and who work here. It is too much about night life and not about daily life for residence of the city. How about a cleaners , a book store, or hardware store !

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