After a chilly reception by the city of Beverly Hills, developers have dropped plans for a retail-movie theater complex in the Golden Triangle area.
Lexington Commercial Holdings and specialty retail developer Madison Marquette had planned to build the 295,000-square-foot Beverly Lane project on property fronting Beverly and Canon drives, just north of Wilshire Boulevard.
But City Manager Mark Scott said there were concerns about "whether there's a true market for this, and the scale of the project."
Developers had already reduced the size of the complex and said any further downsizing would have been unfeasible.
"The specter of those changes, along with the mounting costs and lengthy time-line for approval, have forced us to discontinue the project," said Michael Tewalt, vice president of development for Madison.
The site has a history of dashed development plans. Several years ago, Bloomingdale's proposed building a flagship store there, but scrapped the idea after it bought the Broadway chain and opened stores in Century City and Sherman Oaks.
The open-air Beverly Lane project was to include high-end toy retailer FAO Schwartz, as well as a bookstore, bakery, specialty retail and restaurant. Plans also called for a Pacific Theaters/Metropolitan Theaters multiscreen cinema with 1,700 seats, which would bring first-run releases to the city for the first time in 20 years.
A survey commissioned by developers found "overwhelming support" for the project among residents, who believe existing shopping is not family-oriented. But there were differing opinions.
"Although a segment of the residential community has expressed fear about nighttime entertainment and traffic, we thought those areas could be addressed," said Robert Little, senior vice president and director of development at Madison Marquette.
Developers had worked with the city for the past two years to create an acceptable concept. During that process, the number of theater seats was reduced by 25 percent and parking was increased by 25 percent as a result of community meetings.
Support from the city was key because it owns a large parcel in the middle of the site that it would have to ground-lease to Lexington, which owns several surrounding pieces of property. Lexington now plans to explore other options, including office development.
Meanwhile, two other retail projects in Beverly Hills are moving ahead. Regent Properties is working with the city to develop a $25 million retail complex with a 415-car garage at Beverly and Canon drives. Crate & Barrel is negotiating a lease for the project.
And developer Jerry Snyder's office-grocery project is progressing through the environmental review process. That $60 million project would rise on vacant property now used as a parking lot along Crescent Drive, between Wilshire and Clifton Way. As planned, it will have a Gelson's Market, three levels of underground parking and an office building.
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