The Broadway Deli will soon be closing their doors after 20 years on the Third Street Promenade due to escalating rents. On April 21 Santa Monica’s Planning Commission gave the necessary approvals so that part of the ground floor food space they are currently occupying at 309 Broadway (1453 Third Street Promenade) can be converted to retail space.
This conversion will permit the building’s owner, Promenade Gateway, to reduce the current 8,585 square feet of ground floor food space with frontage along both the Third Street Promenade and Broadway to 5,942 square feet of retail tenant space and 2,642 square feet of restaurant space.
Prior to the commission’s vote, the only community member who spoke on the issue, Jerry Rubin, stated, “It’s a shame to lose the Broadway Deli. It’s has been here since the start of the Promenade” and they’ve contributed so much to the community.
Rubin’s thoughts were echoed when Commissioner Jay Johnson voted against the approval of the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) needed for the conversion. Johnson explained that he was “disturbed that the Broadway Deli is leaving simply as a function of monumental rent increases.” He preferred trying to try to work things out so they could remain. In addition, he felt by granting the CUP the commission “is just putting a token food operation in a little corner that’s going to be basically buried.”
The rest of the commission disagreed with Johnson. “There’s something to be gained from the proposal,” noted Commissioner Jason Parry. It will “create more diversity for the pedestrians on Broadway. There are opportunities for improvements to the area from this” change.
The retail portion of the space will be on the Broadway side of the building and be a pedestrian-oriented design and according to the city staff report, would “provide a visually transparent and physically accessible façade to enhance observation and pedestrian access to the tenant space.” The restaurant space will have a Promenade entrance, will open into the building’s passageway and will have outdoor dining along the passageway.
Commission Chair Hank Koning expressed his support for the conversion by stating, “I remember those days when the Broadway Deli was packed. Those days are not there any more. Businesses change, people’s dining habits change. I think a good retailer there would be good.”
The commission’s vote supported city staff’s recommendation.
Howard Robinson, a consultant working with the property owner, stated that the Broadway Deli would probably remain at the property for four to nine months more.
Mirror Contributing Writerhannah@smmirror.com