Commission OKs GM Design Center Near Pepperdine

Times Staff Writer

The California Coastal Commission has approved a bid by General Motors to build an $11-million advanced design center on Pacific Coast Highway across from Pepperdine University in Malibu.

The proposed General Motors Advanced Concept Center will be a three-story, 85,000-square-foot building. The center will house 70 employees who will develop designs that GM will use in the year 2010 and later, according to a company spokeswoman.

The 24-acre site is on the southwest corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu Canyon Road next to the 90-acre Malibu Bluff State Park.

Negative Recommendation


Before Thursday’s meeting, the commission staff had issued a report urging commissioners to vote against the proposed design center because it conflicts with the commission’s land-use plan for Malibu, which reserved the site for facilities for recreational visitors.

The staff also recommended against the proposal because construction of the center would violate a commission policy against building in the civic center area of Malibu until a community sewer system can be constructed.

However, the commission voted unanimously to approve the project after General Motors and the commission staff agreed to “a substantial list of conditions,” said Jack Liebster, commission spokesman.

Liebster said the commission has required that the state Department of Geology and Mines certify that the septic system General Motors has planned is big enough to ensure that no effluent will flow out of the site.


Agreed to Sewer Hookup

And the auto maker had to agree to hook up to a sewer system if one is built in the Malibu area.

General Motors also has agreed to construct a viewing platform on the southwest corner of the property overlooking the ocean and allow the executive director of the Coastal Commission to review the project’s landscaping and grading to ensure that the natural appearance of the site will be restored.

The auto-maker also agreed to contribute $128,000 to maintain access ways to beaches in Malibu and to donate $200,000 for capital improvements in Malibu Bluff State Park.

Leon Cooper, president of the Malibu Township Council, a civic organization that represents 1,300 families, said he personally approved of the commission’s decision.

“The design center will be a very definite asset for Malibu and I like the conditions the commission stipulated,” he said. “I personally visited the site and reviewed the environmental impact report the General Motors people prepared, and I think this is a good example of intelligent planning.”

General Motors plans to close its design center in Newbury Park in Ventura County and transfer those employees to its Malibu facility once it is completed.