The “Draft Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration” for the Santa Monica Place remodel states the project “could have a significant effect on the environment,” however, because mitigation measures have been added to the project this is no longer a concern to those who did the study.
Macerich, Santa Monica Place’s owner, is proposing to tear off the mall’s roof and doors, create an open-air extension of the Promenade, move the food court to the third level, create open public spaces, modify the mall’s entrances and create a more vibrant dining and shopping experience. The remodel will retain the existing height of the mall but will reduce its square footage by approximately 10,234 square feet. In addition, 63 parking spaces will be lost from the existing parking decks.
Potentially significant environmental impacts on the neighborhood that can be mitigated include air quality, traffic, parking and noise. The air quality mitigation measures include control measures for pollutants, while the measures for traffic and parking impacts are a traffic and parking plan that needs to be approved by the City. Mitigations for noise include restriction of construction hours and noise attenuation techniques.
Other possible environmental impacts are health impacts related to asbestos, lead-based paint and previously unidentified contamination. Mitigation measures include testing for hazardous materials and a hazardous material contingency plan. Lastly, mitigation measures will be implemented to stabilize the structure during earthquakes.
According to the study, the construction of the project is slated to begin in early 2008, is projected to take 20 months depending on weather conditions and is expected to be completed in late 2009.
Copies of the “Draft Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration” are available for public review at the City Planning Division Public Counter, Room 111, 1685 Main Street; Office of the City Clerk, Room 102, 1685 Main Street; Santa Monica Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard; and at http://santa-monica.org/planning/eir/ SMPlace Draft ISMND.pdf. The 30-day public review period ends on August 23. Comments are due by 5:30 p.m. on August 23, and should be addressed to: Sarah Lejeune, Senior Planner; City Planning Division; 1685 Main Street, Room 212, Santa Monica, CA 90401; fax 310.458.8341; email sarah.lejeune@SMGOV.net