Hines, an international real estate firm, won unanimous Santa Monica City Council approval to build two new entertainment studios on the developer’s eastside Lantana Media Campus.

The Tuesday, September 14th, vote will allow Hines to build the three-story, 64,105-square-foot Lantana East on Olympic Boulevard and the three-story, 130,000-square-foot Lantana South on Exposition Boulevard.

Lantana East will have a two-level, 378-space subterranean parking garage in addition to 55 surface parking spaces.

Lantana South has a one-level, 303-space subterranean parking garage plus 133 surface parking spaces.

“Upon looking at the environmental impact report and the wide range of benefits for this project, it is not a hard decision to support this agreement,” said Councilmember Ken Genser.

The Lantana Media Campus is located on Olympic Boulevard and Exposition Boulevard between Stewart Street and Centinela Avenue.

Currently, the campus is headquarters for IMAX, Revolution Studios and Lawrence Gordon Productions

The television shows “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Crime & Punishment” are filmed on the site.

Lantana Media Campus consists of environmentally friendly buildings and won the 2004 Sustainable Quality Award from the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce for its “green” buildings.

PUBLIC BENEFITS — The City of Santa Monica “negotiated” Lantana East and Lantana South development agreements with Hines to provide more than $2 million in traffic mitigation and public programs.

City staff recommended that Hines be obligated to provide separate lists of benefits associated with the construction of each building, whichever building is built first.

The City Council agreed to shift most of the public benefits onto Lantana South after Hines senior vice president Douglas Holte said a large cost associated with the smaller Lantana East could result in neither project being built.

“Lantana East should not bear the burden for Stewart Street Park and Edison Playground Partnership improvements,” Holte said.

“It will be difficult to get financing for a project under a development agreement that is too expensive,” he said.

Hines is expecting to construct Lantana East first. The company, throughout five years, will:

– contribute $80,000 per year up to $400,000 to the city to support childcare subsidies for low-income families;

– contribute $100,000 to fund art or cultural programs at Virginia Avenue Park;

– replace and upgrade the public restroom building in Stewart Street Park;

– fund playground improvements and operating costs for the city Edison Elementary School Playground Partnership program;

– construct sidewalks on Olympic Boulevard and Centinela Avenue; and

– fund neighborhood traffic plan improvements and follow-up traffic studies one year after each building is constructed.

“Something will eventually be built there. Let’s make this project happen at a level Hines can support so we get the childcare funds right now,” mayor pro tem Kevin McKeown said.

Suzanne Frick, city planning director, had recommended Hines pay $925,000 over five years for childcare subsidies.

Hines also agreed to make commitments to train and hire Pico Neighborhood residents and at-risk youths and unemployed Santa Monica residents for construction jobs.

SUNSET TRAFFIC — Several residents from Sunset Park, near but not directly adjacent to the Lantana Media Campus, wanted the City Council to reject the development agreements because those residents said the projects would cause more traffic congestion.

“We spent the last year and a half undertaking extensive analysis and review of potential options for neighborhood protection per City Council directive,” Holte said.

“Only one intersection, at Pico Boulevard and Centinela Avenue, will be significantly impacted after mitigation,” he said.

Hines has had five meetings with the Pico Neighborhood Association, two meetings with Friends of Sunset Park and meetings with several surrounding facilities as part of the public review process.

Holte said — and City Council members agreed — that entertainment industry employees do not keep 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. office hours and traffic problems have been mitigated as reasonably as possible.

McKeown said Hines is “the best developer for the site.”

The site is part of the Light Manufacturing and Studio District.

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