The Ocean Avenue Project owners have long held a dream to make this a truly phenomenal project that begets pride and inspires awe in the community. The almost two-acre property sits astride Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Blvd., overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Palisades Park and Santa Monica Pier, at the terminus of a major pedestrian thoroughfare between Ocean Ave and the Third Street Promenade.
The Worthe family first acquired the corner property at 101 Santa Monica Blvd over 40 years ago and acquired the surrounding parcels in 2007. Worthe’s team and Gehry Partners worked together for over five years, studying dozens of design iterations and possible program elements for the site. The Ocean Avenue Project was first introduced to the community in 2013 through a Development Agreement application and community meeting at the local public library. Worthe and Gehry Partners heard the community’s concerns, and utilized the valuable feedback they received to reimagine the entire design over the last 4 years. In July 2017, Santa Monica approved a revised Downtown Community Plan, a result of a lengthy outreach process with community stakeholders, residents, agencies and visitors to guide Downtown Santa Monica’s future. The revised design sensitively addresses its context in the Downtown area, in both scale and height.
The design team has received significant input from the community outreach process, the planning department, and the Architectural Review Board. The extensive outreach process used in developing the approved DCP informed the revised project, resulting in a lower maximum height appropriate to the Downtown context. A slender tower is oriented in an east-west direction, maximizing views to the oceanfront from areas to the east.
The building street fronts are modulated to enhance activity by allowing for a variety of experiences at the sidewalk. Breaks in the building façade help maintain a scaled relationship to pedestrians and the adjacent context.
The proposed project is the culmination of many years of thoughtful consideration, community feedback, and important work. It will bring a mix of uses to an underutilized site, refresh historic landmarks, contribute to our cultural amenities, provide much needed market, family and affordable housing, and create new lodging and entertainment for residents and visitors alike. The design will give this location a prominent place in our City’s history – celebrating the past, present and future.
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Summary of Project Revisions
In response to community and City feedback and the DCP guidelines, a number of changes have been made to the project since 2013:
- The Floor Area Ratio (FAR) has been reduced from 3.2 to 2.6, though a FAR of 4.0 is allowed.
- Building height has been reduced from 244’ to 130’ for only 10% of the site area.
- The building has an average height of 44’-3”.
- Ground level pedestrian areas have been reorganized and improved.
- Condominiums have been removed from the project.
- The number of rental units and affordable units has been increased.
- Family units have been added in the rental unit mix.
- Residential unit layout has been reorganized to promote cross-ventilation.
- The hotel program has been reduced.
- Vibrant museum and cultural programs remain untouched.