Santa Monica’s world famous Third Street Promenade marked its 20th anniversary with a festive celebration.
Santa Monica Mayor Ken Genser told the gathered crowd on September 16 that the creation of the Promenade as we know it today started 25 years ago. Since that time it has “really become the heart of Downtown and a major focus for those who live here and the visitors to our community. Santa Monica would not be what it is today without the Third Street Promenade.”
The Chair of the Bayside District Corporation’s (BDC) Board of Directors, Bill Tucker, noted the concept for the Promenade was developed after the Third Street Development Corporation was formed in 1984 “to make this area more economically viable. During that time a collaborative was formed between the property owners and the City.” This resulted in the Promenade being unveiled on September 16, 1989 as an “urban living room which became what we believe was the heart and soul of a lot of Santa Monicans. We’re very proud that collaborative effort evolved into what we see today.” Later, the Third Street Development Corporation was renamed the Bayside District Corporation. The Promenade has also served as a model for other urban areas around the country.
Those who spoke at the celebration also talked about the Promenade’s next 20 years. Mayor Genser stated that the BDC is acting as the Promenade and Downtown area’s visionary and is working on future plans that will “spread the Promenade’s energy to other portions of Downtown” and keep the Promenade vibrant.
Kathleen Rawson, BDC’s CEO, said her organization is now looking at ways to improve the Downtown infrastructure to help improve the area’s parking and traffic problems.
Today, the three block outdoor pedestrian-only Promenade contains a diverse collection of retail and dining businesses and also hosts a variety of street performers. According to literature from the BDC about 10 million people visit the district each year. These visitors include Santa Monicans, regional visitors, and tourists. Annual spending is over $300 million which generates nearly $5 million in sales tax revenues every year.
The Bayside District is bordered on the west and east sides by Ocean Avenue and 7th Street, respectively; the north and south sides by Wilshire Blvd. and Colorado Ave. The Third Street Promenade includes the three blocks between Broadway and Wilshire Blvd. Blvd. and Colorado Ave.