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 have now worked on this project for over 15 years, studying dozens of design iterations and possible program elements for the site. Our first Development Agreement application was submitted in 2013 and we held a community meeting at the Santa Monica Public Library. The community gave us valuable feedback, including that they wanted reduced height for the hotel building, no for-sale condominiums, less density and more open space in the design. In July 2017, Santa Monica's City Council 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.
In 2018, we submitted the current project, with a revised design with a lower maximum height of 130 feet (an average of 48'5” across the site) that we feel sensitively addresses the Project's context in the Downtown area, in both scale and height. The slender hotel tower is oriented in an east-west direction, maximizing views to the oceanfront from areas to the east. The community can have access to 360 degree views of Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean from the publicly-accessible rooftop observation deck.
We have proposed a design that has less density than what is permitted by the DCP (2.95 FAR - 25% below 4.0 limit). 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. Publicly-accessible open space is interspersed through the project to create a sense of place and encourage community gatherings.
The revised design will give this location a prominent place in our City's history - celebrating the past, present and future.