Twice-Rejected Office Project OKd by Torrance Council After Changes


Reversing their decision of two months ago, Torrance City Council members voted Tuesday to allow construction of a six-story office building and parking structure complex near one of the city's busiest intersections.

After first voting 4-3 Tuesday to reject the project on Torrance Boulevard near Hawthorne Boulevard, council members asked developers from Oxford Properties Inc. to eliminate a separate single-story building from their plans.

On a second vote, the project was approved 4 to 3, with Mayor Katy Geissert changing her vote. Council members Tim Mock, Dan Walker and Mark Wirth also voted in favor of the project, with Bill Applegate, George Nakano and Dee Hardison opposed.

The construction will be the second phase of development on a 16-acre parcel near the Marriott Hotel.

The existing first phase of the project--the eight-story, 107-foot-high Computax building and parking structure--was approved by the council in 1987.

In March, all council members but Walker voted to reject Oxford's original plans for the second phase of the complex, which included a seven-story office building, a four-story parking structure and a single-story office building.

During that debate, council members complained that the project was too dense and too close to the street, creating what Applegate called "a cavernous effect."

Oxford shaved the larger office building down to six stories and took a floor off the parking structure proposal before presenting its plans to the council again.

Some council members remain unsatisfied.

"This project remains too dense, too tall, with too little setback" from the street, Applegate said. "We're going to have a building almost 92 feet tall, but it's going to be (52 feet from) the street. . . . That's just too overwhelming."

Geissert said she changed her vote reluctantly.

"I'm not ecstatic with any development," she said, but she was satisfied by the elimination of the single-story building and a series of last-minute changes in the subdivision's layout that will reduce the building possibilities for the remainder of the site.

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