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Landmarks Commission Designations Postponed:

“Wait until next time” seemed to be the theme of the October 12 Landmarks Commission meeting, as two items regarding the designation of structures were continued to next month’s meeting.

The issue of the nominated Shangri-La Hotel at 1301 Ocean Avenue was the subject of a staff report and brief discussion. Senior Planner and Commission Secretary Scott Albright gave the Commission a rundown on the 1939-vintage hotel’s Streamline Moderne features, and of the four criteria suggested for designation by staff and a consultant’s report.

Of note was the description in the staff report of the Shangri-La’s resemblance to an ocean liner, achieved with stepped massing on the upper floors and penthouse, the use of pipe railings, and grooved “speedlines” on the white façade.

“Transportation and optimism were critical considerations,” said Albright. The Streamline Moderne style, according to the staff report, was an economic and stylistic response to the Great Depression, a new style that reflected a brighter future. The Ocean Liner motif stood for the movement of time, and transport to a better life.

The hotel has experienced some modifications however, and it was these changes that gave the Commission some concerns. While interiors are not usually included in designations, significant interior design of public areas (ie: lobbies) can be included. The Shangri-La’s lobby contains both original elements (glass blocks in the front door) and altered elements (removal of some of the terrazzo flooring).

The Commission wanted to know more about which elements of the lobby design are original as opposed to altered, in order to include the lobby in the designation. As there was no urgency, with no demolition or remodeling plan standing in the way, it was agreed to continue the item to next month in order to allow City staff to do more research into the hotel features.

A discussion on the designation of a group of vintage bungalows at 1047 9th Street was also continued to November at the request of the applicant.

In other actions, the Commission made recommendations to City Council for the approval of Mills Act contracts for two designated properties at 2612 3rd Street and 3018 3rd Street.

These two properties had been reviewed for contract approval at the September 2009 meeting but had been continued pending clarification of details in the contracts. The Commission was satisfied that the language of the contracts for both properties was complete, and that in the case of 3018 3rd Street, a Certificate of Appropriateness was not needed for alterations because the building is designated as a Structure of Merit rather than as a landmark.

Certificates of Appropriateness were granted to the project for installing new rooftop HVAC equipment at Santa Monica City Hall, 1685 Main Street, and for sign plans and sign adjustment at the Lido Hotel, 1447 4th Street.

No action was taken on two proposed demolition permits for 1518 11th Street and 1018 Yale Street. 

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