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CALABASAS : Theater, Office Center Compromise Hinted

The developer and opponents of a proposed large-scale office complex and movie theater say a compromise may be near as the City Council prepares to vote next month whether to approve the project.

The council--which postponed a vote on approval at its Aug. 10 meeting--has since been trying to work out a compromise. The council is expected to vote on the matter in late September.

The council agreed to give the developer time to scale down plans for an eight-plex movie theater and retail center as part of a planned 1.5-million-square-foot office complex known as Calabasas Park Centre. It would be located south of Calabasas Road between Park Granada and Parkway Calabasas.

The council has also named a panel made up of city officials who have been meeting this week with both sides in an attempt to reach a compromise. Councilman Marvin Lopata, who serves on the panel, said Thursday that he believes talks have been going well.

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“It’s possible we may come to a point where both sides will be happy, but we’ll have to see,” he said.

Lopata and the other three council members, along with Mayor Karyn Foley, all told developer John Kilroy at that last meeting that they could never accept the project on such a large scale.

Some critics of the project seem to be softening their stance on the theater, which has been one of the main points of contention. Some critics had earlier vowed they would never accept a theater, saying it would bring crime and violence to the city.

“In the spirit of negotiation, I would accept something smaller, something up to 1,000 seats, or something like that, " said Doris La Violette, who is on the board of directors for the Malibu Canyon Homeowners’ Assn. She is also a delegate to Los Virgenes Homeowners’ Federation.

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She belongs to an organization called Save Our City, which has been adamant in its opposition to the theater.

“I don’t know of anyone who has been against the project completely,’ she said Thursday. “We’re somewhat realistic about that. It’s a question now of just how much is too much.”

Mark Ossala, vice president of Kilroy Industries, and project director of the Park Centre, said his side is willing to compromise “as long as it is economically feasible for us.”

He said he would be willing to accept less than 2,800 theater seats, but he declined to give an exact number. But, he added, United Artists has been able to make a profit operating theaters with 2,300 seats.

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