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Inside CITY HALL

June 04, 2001

Jennifer Kho

TOWN CENTER

The council will consider granting a request by Commonwealth Partners,

one of the developers of the Town Center project, to postpone a decision

on its part of the project for 18 months.

The project, which seeks to transform South Coast Metro into a

pedestrian-oriented cultural arts district bordered by Bristol Street,

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Sunflower Avenue, Avenue of the Arts and the San Diego Freeway, is a

collaboration between Commonwealth, the Orange County Performing Arts

Center and South Coast Partners, the owner of South Coast Plaza.

The South Coast Partners and the Center's portions of the project were

approved earlier this year, but Commonwealth's part has been held up

mainly because of disagreement about the length of time the developer has

to maintain Isamu Noguchi's California Scenario sculpture garden.

Intense negotiations about a proposed development agreement between

the city and the developer have been ongoing for months.

While both parties at a May 21 meeting finally agreed to require

Commonwealth to maintain the garden for 50 years, issues of parking and

how much money the company will have to provide for the area are keeping

them from reaching an agreement.

WHAT TO EXPECT: The council, which preliminarily approved the 50-year

term May 21, also approved a requirement that the developer provide the

parking and money for the Theater Arts District.

The council could give final approval to that decision at the risk of

not having the developer sign the agreement.

A plan for the Theater Arts District has yet to be drafted and

Commonwealth said it can't agree to unknown amounts of parking and money.

Developer spokesman Phil Schwartze said he hopes to persuade the city to

agree to a fixed number or a cap on the amount.

If no fixed amount is agreed on, the developer could wait until the

Theater Arts District plan is approved, which would include the amount of

money and parking that would be required, and in turn put those set

amounts into the development agreement at that time.

City staff recommends the council postpone the issue for a couple of

meetings to allow the staff to evaluate Commonwealth's request for a

lengthier postponement.

RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS

The council will consider giving final approval to new standards for

residential housing.

The discussion was scheduled for the May 21 meeting, but the council

postponed it because preceding issues -- including debate about plans for

East 17th Street -- took the meeting past midnight.

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