Jason Harris, the city’s economic development manager and a member of the advisory panel, said he hasn’t received any community criticism about the Metropolitan Pacific project, which has been up for public review since early last month. Some concerns were raised about the other proposals, however.
“As much as development is a hotly contested and debated subject in Santa Monica, we have gotten no negative comments on this one in particular,” he said. “It’s very surprising.”
The notion of developing the area east of Third is a wise one, according to Christine Deschaine, senior vice president at a unit of Kennedy-Wilson Holdings Inc., who holds listings for a number of new and existing mixed-use projects in the area.
“We see more people on bikes and people walking east, everything is moving east,” she said. “I think maybe folks that traditionally would oppose (development) in these communities are seeing the benefit of living and working in the area that is really revitalizing east. It’s a very positive energy.”
The city acquired the 12-parcel site in pieces between 2007 and 2010 in hopes of finding a way to extend the bustling downtown further from the Promenade. It began considering development proposals for the property in 2010 after taking in public input for the site. Among the priorities was maintaining a community-centered property that would continue providing space for an ice-skating rink, which has been at the site in fall and winter for the last four years.
The three developers that submitted plans earlier this year took the priorities into consideration, a factor that is likely to help explain the public support for the project, Harris said.
Metropolitan Pacific has completed or is under way on more than 20 projects across Santa Monica, including conversion of the Mayfair Theater to residences and shops. This is its first venture with DLJ and Clarett West, which are building Hollywood’s 1 million-square-foot mixed-used project that spans the north and south sides of Hollywood Boulevard a block east of Vine Street known as Blvd 6200.
The Metropolitan Pacific proposal, known as the Plaza at Santa Monica, calls for the ground-up development of a 448,000-square-foot, 12-story tower designed by OMA. The ground floor would have space for shops, restaurants and community rooms. Floors two to four would have 172,000 square feet of office space; floors five to seven would have 85,500 square feet that could be used for residences or more office, depending on the city’s preference; and the remaining upper floors would accommodate a 127,000-square-foot, 226-room hotel. The property would include a rooftop pool and bar. A public open space on the ground could accommodate a wintertime ice-skating rink.