Santa Monica : Negotiations on Office Project

City officials are negotiating with a developer to reduce the size of a proposed multimillion-dollar office complex south of the Santa Monica Airport.

The project, which has drawn fire from neighboring Los Angeles residents and Los Angeles officials who fear that it would generate too much traffic, was proposed by the Reliance Development Group at 1.4 million square feet.

But after the release last week of a supplemental Environmental Impact Report, the city began discussions with Reliance aimed at scaling down the project.

"We believe some reduction is reasonable (but) to a degree that leaves us with a rational, viable project," said Peggy Curran, Santa Monica Community and Economic Development director.

Curran declined to indicate by what percentage of square feet the project might be reduced. Los Angeles City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter has asked Santa Monica to consider a 50% reduction, but Curren said such a drastic scaling down would "decimate" the project.

Henry A. Lambert, president of Reliance, said he was willing to negotiate a small reduction in the size of the project.

"I prefer not to scale down . . . but if it's a small reduction, we won't walk away," he said. Lambert declined to name a limit on how much scaling back he would accept.

The $280-million complex, which would include a movie studio, is being proposed for a 37.5-acre parcel south of the airport.

The city Planning Division, meanwhile, is inviting public comment on a supplemental Environmental Impact Report for the project.

The original Environmental Impact Report worked under the assumption that the city of Los Angeles would widen Centinela Avenue to ease traffic congestion. But Los Angeles officials warned Santa Monica officials that they should not count on the widening. That made the supplemental report necessary.

The supplemental report is available for review and comment until Aug. 18 at City Hall and area libraries.

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