In February, the Planning Commission unanimously approved the
project in the downtown redevelopment zone.
Project supporters echoed the commission in touting the perfect
fit of the project for the downtown area.
"I think the key is that this is a downtown project and we've
talked about making downtown a destination and this is exactly what
downtown calls for -- high-class condos within walking distance of
entertainment," said Councilman Gary Monahan. "I think it will just
raise property values all around it."
The project calls for Rutter Development to add 161 upscale
condominiums to the 1901 Newport property that now hosts the Spanish
mission-style Newport Plaza building. A Vegas-style nightclub has
also been added to the Newport Plaza building, but awaits further
approval from the city's fire marshal.
The condos will be housed in four four-story buildings measuring
about 50 feet high. The project also features a two-level underground
parking structure and a five-level aboveground parking structure.
Mansoor said he rejected the project because he had significant
concerns with density and traffic issues.
"I simply would have liked less density and that would have
alleviated a lot of the other concerns, like traffic," Mansoor said.
While the council split in approving the project, it was unanimous
in its conviction to require developer Rutter Development to either
build 14 affordable housing units or substantially rehabilitate 14
existing affordable housing units within the redevelopment zone.
"If we would have accepted the fee, the city would have been left
holding the hot potato with no guarantee of a way to fulfill our
requirements," Mansoor said. "And I felt that was not wise to leave
the city holding the bag."
* DEIRDRE NEWMAN covers Costa Mesa and may be reached at (949)
574-4221 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.