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Location of Light-Rail Station Uncertain : Plan for $200-Million ‘Urban Village’ Altered

Times Staff Writer

Uncertainty over the location of a light-rail station has prompted a Century City developer to eliminate offices from a proposed $200-million development in Hawthorne.

The decision to delete offices from the plan was made because of a likely change in the location of the Norwalk-to-El Segundo light-rail line’s terminus, said Rex Swanson, vice president of the Cloverleaf Group development firm.

The station, at the end of the 19.5-mile light-rail line, was to have been built within the 20-acre redevelopment area at Rosecrans Avenue and the San Diego Freeway.

There, Cloverleaf proposed a $200-million “urban village” where people could work and live. The plan included 150,000 square feet of offices, two hotels, 500 condominiums, a retail complex, movie theaters and a health club.

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The revised plan replaces the office space with a third hotel. Offices were eliminated because that use--with office workers creating a demand for public transportation--would be most directly affected by the loss of a station, Swanson said. Cloverleaf hopes to persuade transportation officials to include a shuttle to transport hotel patrons and others to the station, which is expected to be built farther south on Compton Boulevard.

Earlier Proposals Failed

The city of Hawthorne has for years been trying to redevelop the blighted site, but for various reasons earlier proposals have fallen through.

When the Cloverleaf proposed the urban village late last year, city officials were hopeful the site would finally be developed. Such a project would be a substantial source of revenue for the city, officials said.

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Those hopes were shaken when officials learned that the staff of the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission’s rail construction committee recommended moving the station.

The staff, which was unaware of the Cloverleaf proposal, said the new location would satisfy the demand for transportation by workers at TRW and other companies.

Cloverleaf officials at first objected to the change, but decided that since it is likely to be approved the firm should redesign the project, Swanson said.

Cloverleaf officials informed the rail committee last week that they were withdrawing their objections, and the committee will ask the Transportation Commission to approve the change at its meeting Wednesday.

Cloverleaf will present its new plans to the Hawthorne Redevelopment Agency at 7 p.m. March 27 at City Hall. Agency approval is required for the development to be built.


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