Logo horizontal ruler

Planning Commission Enthused About a New Old Hotel

By Susan Reines
Staff Writer

November 23 -- The Planning Commission unanimously endorsed plans last week for an unprecedented new project that would incorporate two of Santa Monica's historic landmarks into a hotel on Ocean Avenue.

The project is still in its infancy, but the commission's approval of the concept last Wednesday allows City staff to go forward with negotiating a development agreement with Hill Street Realty to work out the details.

"I want to move forward with having a development agreement," Commissioner Julie Lopez Dad said. "I think this meets to such an extraordinary extent what this City wants and needs along Ocean Avenue and to increase the pedestrian use of this street."

One of the landmarked structures, a Victorian house that now sits at 1333 Ocean Avenue, will be moved a few doors down to 1327 Ocean Avenue.

Photo courtesy of Santa Monica Public Library Archives

A plaza will connect it with the new four-story, 77-room hotel, which will be attached to the other landmarked building, a Spanish Colonial Revival home-turned-office building that is said to have once housed John Payne, the actor who played Fred Gailey in "Miracle on 34th Street."

Representatives of the Landmarks Commission and Santa Monica Conservancy said the Victorian building could be safely moved as long as the developer hired someone who knew how to do the job right.

"One hundred years ago, fifty years ago houses were moved all the time," said Tom Cleys, a founder of the Santa Monica Conservancy. "Yes, you want to get a mover who knows what they're doing. There's a lot of interior work that'll have to be done, but it's totally doable."

The Landmarks Commission reviewed the project in October and strongly supported the concept.

"The Landmarks Commission is very excited about the project because it is such a creative and bold adaptive reuse," Landmarks Commission Chair Pro Tem Nina Fresco said at the Planning Commission meeting. "This is what we like to see for our historic buildings, bringing them into a whole new life and a whole new use."

At the request of Fresco and representatives of the Santa Monica Conservancy and Natural Resources Defense Council, the Planning Commission directed staff to specify in the development agreement that the Landmarks Commission will oversee any changes made to the historic buildings.

Lookout Logo footer image
Copyright 1999-2008 surfsantamonica.com. All Rights Reserved.
Footer Email icon