Proposal to replace Brea Plaza movie theater with apartments gets council’s support – OCRegister

Proposal to replace Brea Plaza movie theater with apartments gets council’s support – OCRegister

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A developer will likely soon be cleared to demolish a movie theater near the Brea Mall and build a 155-unit apartment complex with shops and offices below.
The Brea City Council this week supported allowing developers BOSC Realty Advisors to replace the Brea Plaza 5 and an adjacent parking lot with the 188,000-square-foot, mixed-used development. The Brea Plaza is on Imperial High, east of the 57 Freeway from the regional mall. Other businesses in the plaza would remain in place, including the Buca di Beppo that was once proposed to be replaced by a hotel.
The council will have to approve an ordinance at an upcoming meeting to finalize approvals for the 2.2-acre project before it can move ahead. Councilman Steve Vargas recused himself from discussions on the proposal.
The proposal won the support of the city’s Planning Commission in January.
Fans of the proposed development cite the benefits of further increasing the city’s housing supply and revitalizing the center to help it remain competitive, while opponents have raised concerns over its size, potential parking impacts in and around the property and impacts on the Brea Olinda Unified School District.
At the council’s April 5 meeting, many residents from the Brea Glenbrook community immediately north of the Brea Plaza expressed concerns about the size and scope of the project.
Since that meeting, the property owner downsized the project from 214,800 square feet to 187,477 square feet and reduced the height of the building from eight stories to six.
Additionally, the number of housing units has been reduced from 161 to 155, and the number of parking spaces reduced from 988 to 871.
The complex would include a variety of one-, two-, and three- bedrooms apartments and studios.
The developer is required to set aside 10% of the units for affordable housing; 16 units for those with lower incomes are proposed.
“We do know that we need a variety of housing types, not just because the state is imposing that on us, but because we are hearing that,” Councilwoman Christine Marick said.
The property owner agreed to install a traffic signal at Birch Street and Redbay Avenue.
The city is also amending the zoning designation for the property, which places tighter restrictions on density and requires a stricter level of review for some proposed businesses.
An auto sales or auto repair business, for example, would be prohibited, while a hotel or a gym would require a conditional use permit.
“The property owner has a positive record of making positive improvements to the property, which include the proper tenant mix and keeping out improper tenants,” Merrick said.
Councilman Glenn Parker said he understands the concerns of the neighbors and pointed to his previous time on the council during the 1990s, when he voted against many large projects.
But this owner has listened to the concerns of the nearby residents, Parker said, and has been willing to make changes.
“The bottom line is that I do think this is a project that is essential,” he said, “because we do need to make sure that all of our shopping centers are continuing to produce revenue and not fail, because we would not be able to provide the services we need.”
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