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415 PCH Design Workshop Is This Weekend:

The City of Santa Monica will host a two-day community workshop this Saturday and Sunday, October 1 and 2, on the restoration of the former Marion Davies beachfront estate at 415 PCH.

The workshop will be held at the old estate. Parking is available on-site.

The purpose of the workshop is to solicit suggestions and comments for the preservation and adaptive re-use of the historic property from residents.

Built by publisher William Randolph Hearst for his mistress, film star Davies, in 1929, the 5.5-acre estate included a 100-room mansion, an Italian marble swimming pool, tennis courts, dog kennels, and guesthouses. It was the largest and most elaborate estate ever built on the Southern California coast and a favored Hollywood watering hole. Only remnants of the original estate, including the north guesthouse and the pool, remain on the site today.

Davies sold the property in 1957. It became a hotel, Oceanhouse, and subsequently the Sand and Sea Club, a popular beach club.

The property is owned by the State of California and managed by the City. In 1989, the City cancelled the Sand and Sea’s lease and opened the property to the public, but, after it suffered damage in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, it was shut down.

Subsequently, the City Council appointed a 415 Working Group, whose members included Council members Ken Genser and Michael Feinstein. The Group and its consultant developed a plan for the property’s rehabilitation in 1998, but the City failed to find funds to implement the plan and was on the verge of seeking a private sector operator when, late last year, the Annenberg Foundation awarded a $21 million grant to the City for its restoration. Additional project funding is being provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

On June 28, the City signed a design/build contract with the team of Pankow Special Projects and Fred Fisher and Partners Architects. Members of the community made suggestions for the initial design concept to the designers at a City-hosted open house on July 27.

The concept that emerged from the open house, the City’s adaptive reuse plans, and the historic documentation of the site will be presented to residents at Saturday’s workshop for their critiques.

At Sunday’s workshop, the design team will present its response to the community suggestions and the community, in turn, will be able to make additional suggestions.

The Saturday workshop will begin at 10 a.m. with a presentation by the design team, followed by a box lunch at noon, and “break-out” discussion groups.

The Sunday session will begin at noon, with a special meeting of the City’s Recreation and Parks Commission scheduled for 3 p.m.

The City’s Landmarks Commission will discuss the 415 PCH project during a study session, which will include a design presentation and public input, on October 10 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.For some background, a preview in advance of the workshop and, after September 30, a look at the emerging design, visit www.e-workshop:

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