Among many items on a busier than usual agenda, the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission, at its July 10 meeting, heard new information regarding the Teriton Apartments at 130 San Vicente Blvd.
The multi-family garden apartment complex was scheduled for demolition last November, at which time the Commission heard from residents and supporters who sought to have the building designated a City Landmark. The demolition application was withdrawn in December 2005.
Now the building has been purchased by Chaim Shalom, a nonprofit religious group that wants to demolish the apartments to build a home for Jewish refugees.
Speaking on behalf of the ownership group, attorney Rosario Perrry claimed that maintaining the Teriton as rented apartments is causing the owner to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. He pointed out that under a California statute, properties owned by religious organizations are exempt from Landmarks protection and that the tenants who sought landmark designation for the apartments are misusing the landmarks process to save their residences.
Several tenants and area residents spoke to the Commission about designating the Teriton. Among them were Anthony Carr, who said that the building represented “the entrance to the San Vicente corridor,” and Kit Snedaker, who stated that it would be “significant” to make the Teriton a landmark because it would be the first landmarked building in the neighborhood.
The religious ownership of the building, and the intent of the owner to provide housing for refugees, made the issue a difficult call for the Commission, especially after hearing a moving speech by Rabbi Hertzel Julian of Chaim Shalom. However, the Commission agreed to move forward with obtaining more information, including a consultant’s report on the eligibility of the Teriton under Landmarks guidelines.
Two properties that have been under consideration for months were finally designated as landmarks. A single-family house at 2323 5th St. was designated a landmark on the basis of Criteria 1 (“exemplifies elements of the architectural and cultural history of the City”), Criteria 3 (“it is identified with historic personages”), and Criteria 4 (“is a unique or rare example of an architectural design”). The vintage beach house at 1401 Palisades Beach Road was designated under Criterias 1 and 4, for its historic and architectural elements.
In other actions, the Commission approved several Certificates of Appropriateness for changes to buildings that are already City Landmarks: installing security cameras on the Santa Monica Pier, including several cameras at the Loof Carousel Building; design approval of a four-unit condominium project on the rear of the parcel at 954 5th St. (a turn-of-the-century beach cottage); design approval of modifications to a single-family residence at 2511 Beverley Ave.; and design approval of an addition to the residence at 238 Hill St., a designated contributing structure to the Third Street Neighborhood District.
The Commission also considered requests to file an application to designate the Shangri-la Hotel at 1301 Ocean Ave. When informed that the hotel owner is planning some renovation (changing suites to individual hotel rooms and adding a disabled ramp) and that landmarking the hotel would hold up the renovation process at this time, the Commission agreed to allow the renovation to proceed and to come back to the issue of designation at a later date.
A single-family house at 159 Fraser, listed on the proposed demolitions list, was singled out for the Commission to obtain more information about the building.
No action was taken on the following proposed demolitions: 217 Bicknell Ave.; 225 Bicknell Ave.; 1032 Yale St.; 2401 28th St.