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|Two More New Hotels Proposed for Downtown Santa Monica|
By Jason Islas
April 10, 2012 -- Shortly after the Santa Monica City Council votes on whether to give final approval to a development agreement for the hotel at 710 Wilshire Boulevard, it will consider proposals for two more hotels Downtown.
The two hotels – a Courtyard by Mariott and a Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton – will bring a total of almost 270 rooms across the street from each other just north of the future site of the Expo Line terminal at Fifth Street and Colorado Avenue.
The hotels are part of a hotel boom Downtown that includes last year's opening of the new Shore Hotel just three blocks east of the proposed facilities.
The Marriott project, located on the northwest corner of Fifth and Colorado, will replace Midas and Royalty Autobody, two local businesses that arguably have some historical significance to the Downtown area.
The City's Landmarks Commission is set to consider a historical designation for the building, which was used by inventor Waldo Waterman between 1935 and 1938 to develop the flying car.
"Waterman worked on the design and manufacturing of the Arrowbile flying car at the subject property," staff wrote in its report to council. "Waterman’s connection to the flying car movement is historically significant, and the subject property is one of several places associated with his productive life."
Across the street, the Hilton project would replace a three-story office building that has surface and subterranean parking.
“Both projects are proposed with similar densities on the same sized parcels,” staff said.
The proposed heights of each hotel range from 69 feet to 72 feet – both buildings would be six stories tall.
These projects are still in the preliminary stages, however.
On Tuesday, the Council will primarily be discussing design and will be making comments on which community benefits they would like to see included in the development agreements once they are drafted.
Staff has recommended that the Council ask that the developer pay a Downtown Transportation and Circulation Infrastructure Improvement Contribution, as well as add local hiring and living wage provisions.
Should the projects go forward, the hotels could benefit from their proximity to the Expo line to Culver City and Downtown Los Angeles slated to be completed in 2015.
Last September, the 164-room Shore Hotel opened its doors at the site of the old Pacific Sands and Travelodge hotels on Ocean Avenue. The new hotel also boasts retail space and a hotel on Ocean Avenue.
The hotel at 710 Wilshire Boulevard, which will occupy the historic Santa Monica Professional Building, is expected to revitalize the eastern border of the downtown area with nearly 300 hotel rooms, as well as ground floor retail and a restaurant.
While not increasing the number of hotel rooms, The Fairmont Miramar on Wilshire Boulevard and Ocean Avenue Downtown will present a major redevelopment project to the council on April 24. The proposed plan would add as many as 120 condominiums on the upper floors of three new buildings that would replace the two existing main buildings.
Hotels are a major source of revenue for Santa Monica, with the City reaping 14 percent of the cost of hotel rooms in the form of a transient occupancy, or bed, tax.
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