A small group of residents attended a meeting on March 12 to discuss the design of a project being developed as a hotel for 1333-1337 Ocean Avenue by Hill Street Realty.
The developer is proposing a 75-room hotel with a rooftop pool and terraces. At this time, the design involves the preservation and reuse of two historically landmarked buildings. The proposal includes moving the landmarked Victorian structure to the northern portion of the site to help create a publicly accessible plaza. Then, a contemporary building will be constructed at the rear of the site that will connect to the existing landmarked Spanish Colonial building. The public plaza will be developed and include a restaurant and lounge. All non-historic buildings onsite will be demolished. Parking will be placed underground.
This project involves creating a Development Agreement (DA) between the City and the developer because some of the project’s parameters are not consistent with the City’s zoning ordinance. In situations like this, the City negotiates a contract with the project’s developer to allow exceptions to the City’s zoning ordinance in exchange for public benefits. In this case, the proposed public benefits are the preservation and the reuse of two landmark structures, a publicly accessible plaza and a contribution to the City’s childcare fund.
City Planning Director Eileen Fogerty noted during her presentation that the “early designs [for the project] were too massive in relation to the Spanish Colonial building” so the “current design removes square footage to reduce massing, and increases the setback from Ocean Avenue.” The current design also “adds balconies and uses façade materials that soften the transition between the landmark and the contemporary addition.”
A preliminary plant palette has also been developed based on the two landmarked structures. The developer plans to use verbena, orange clock vine and perennials as part of the Victorian garden influence and olive, rosemary and agaves as part of the Spanish courtyard influence.
Negotiations with the City for the project began when both the City’s Landmarks and Planning commissions reviewed a pre-submittal DA in 2004. The City Council authorized the DA negotiations in August 2005 when they approved the project in concept form.
Members of the City’s Planning Commission will review the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) in early April. The project will then move to the City Council in April or May for review of the DEIR and the project’s schematic design. Some time after that, the City’s Landmarks Commission will review the proposed project’s completed design drawings for their approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness for the project.