February 25, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Miramar One Step Closer To Super Sizing: The Miramar

If currently proposed plans to tear down and rebuild the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows are allowed to move forward, then downtown Santa Monica will, depending on what side of the fence you sit on, either become a boon for coveted tourism dollars or renamed “Miami: West.” Santa Monica’s City Council expressed its view in a 6-1 vote, and members on the dais overwhelming believing the proposed Miramar “revitalization project” will indeed be that boon enhancing the city’s status as a leading tourist destination.

Evident at City Hall on Tuesday evening and into Wednesday morning was a clear line of demarcation separating the pro-development contingency who believe a newer, larger Miramar will result in millions of dollars filling Santa Monica’s coffers and an anti-Miramar campaign contending the hotel’s renovations plans are too bulky and would adversely affect the surrounding community.

Though the April 24 council action was far from a final decree, the 6-1 vote indicated that Santa Monica’s elected officials were in favor of the proposed project despite several people attending Tuesday’s meeting at City Hall protesting how large the new look Miramar would potentially be should the plans ultimately be approved.

One attendee who arrived mid-way through Closed Session conducted, based on a precursory scan of the blue or red stickers worn by almost every member of the capacity crowd inside Council Chambers, an unofficial count of those favoring (blue stickers) or opposing (a red “Stop” sign sticker) the Miramar expansion. By his observation, about 60 percent of those sitting inside the chambers opposed Miramar’s current plans.

A much larger crowd, the stance of each person not anecdotally accounted for in any capacity, observed the meeting from City Hall’s lobby and mezzanine.

Members in both camps hoped to make its respective case be known to council members even though the Miramar agenda item on Tuesday night was a “float-up,” where elected officials interact with staff, the developer, and members of the public to discuss how best move a project forward.

“Friends of the Miramar,” a group claiming to be more than 500 members strong, distributed blue stickers for its supporters to wear and, as a unit, made its case to council members that the hotel’s plans would greatly benefit Santa Monica.

Among its points in support of the Miramar’s increased size were: more than tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues; improved community via corporate responsibility; improved parking; consistency with the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE); inclusion of affordable housing; historic preservation of the Moreton Bay Fig Tree; inclusion of union jobs; the creation of 150 new jobs; and, being a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly hotel.

Sea Colony resident Mike Gruning pointed out that the Miramar’s expansion plans provided both a community benefit via its affordable housing plan and would help revitalize the immediately surrounding area with the potential for ground-level businesses along Wilshire Boulevard and Second Street were positive community benefits.

“They’re going to revitalize the area by having retail on Wilshire and possibly Second Street, which will increase sales tax and bring tremendous revenues to the city,” Gruning told The Mirror. “Plus, it’s going to be all good-paying union jobs.”

Meanwhile, the Santa Monicans Against the Miramar Expansion Coalition, which distributed stickers replicating a “Stop” sign, argued the hotel’s expansion plans were bulky and violated several zoning ordinances.

Sohrab Sassounian, owner of The Huntley directly across from the Miramar, told The Mirror while he is not opposed to his neighbor’s renovations plans, the proposed expansion goes too far.

“It’s not a hotel project. It’s a condominium project,” he said. “The project is too bulky, too big, too tall.”

Another concern: residents just north of the Miramar believe a larger development will attract way too many automobiles to an area that is already congested.

“I’ve lived in Santa Monica for 31 years and I don’t want to see it change in the way this building project might make it change,” Eleanor Blumenberg, who lives near the Miramar, told The Mirror. “I live on top of the California Incline. I see it backed up now. It’s going to be absolutely ridiculous. Very unrealistic and selfish.”

Latham & Watkins attorney Rick Zbur observed the Miramar’s current plans exceed height and density restrictions.

“There’s a 45-foot height limit that they are not supposed to exceed,” Zbur said. “They are just wholly ignoring it.”

So, what is in a plan?

The developer has offered City Hall four alternatives after planning commissioners earlier this year expressed concern about the project’s size.

Interestingly enough, the project’s square footage remained the same in each alternative, with the way the space was allocated throughout the property being the only deviation.

The proposed square footage: 556,000. That space would include four buildings, 265 hotel rooms, 120 condominiums, just under 500 subterranean parking spaces, retail space along Wilshire Boulevard, and one-acre of open space. The current Ocean Tower, which is 10 stories tall, would be demolished; a new 12-story, 133-foot tall tower would be erected in its place.

Also proposed are structures of 70 and 122 feet, respectively.

Currently, the Miramar sits on 4.5 acres, is home to 296 guest rooms, and is just above 262,000 square feet in space. The tallest structure currently on-site is 10 stories tall. There are only 167 parking spaces on site.

Not happy with the lack of variation among the proposed alternatives, Council member Kevin McKeown was the sole opposing vote.

The other six council members expressed support of some of the projects proposed community benefits, such as local hiring and providing living wages to hotel employees.

In all, about 80 speakers addressed the dais in support or opposition of the Miramar project.

The meeting ended with expansion plans moving forward but with stipulations, such as: further refinements of design plans; reducing the size of one of the new towers by three stories while increasing the height of another; and, making a final determination on the number of condominiums to include in the new development.

MSD Capital, L.P., owns the Miramar, which is located on the corner of Wilshire and Ocean Boulevards.

in News
Related Posts

Video: Free LA Metro Rides Could Begin Soon

February 24, 2021

February 24, 2021

LA Metro could begin offering fare-less rides as early as next year as part of a $300+ million program. Learn...

Danny Trejo’s Tacos Coming to Santa Monica

February 24, 2021

February 24, 2021

Popular restaurant owned by legendary actor coming near Promenade By Kerry Slater Legendary actor Danny Trejo is bringing his popular...

Violent Crime Declining in Santa Monica: Santa Monica Beat – February, 22, 2021

February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Violent Crime Declining in Santa Monica * Santa Monica Animal Shelter...

Santa Monica Convicted Felon Indicted for Multiple Firearms Charges After Shooting into Neighbor’s Yard

February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021

Jason Walsh faces federal prison time for January 9 incident By Sam Catanzaro A Santa Monica man previously convicted for...

Westside Hotel to Homeless Shelter Sparks Debate

February 21, 2021

February 21, 2021

A proposal to convert a Westside hotel into a homeless shelter has sparked a debate. Learn more in this video...

Housing Backers Start Facing Post-Pandemic Reality

February 21, 2021

February 21, 2021

By Tom Elias, Columnist The mysterious blindness that apparently affected California’s top legislative housing advocates all through 2020 seems to...

Santa Monica Awarded Over $5 Million for Affordable Housing Production

February 21, 2021

February 21, 2021

The California Department of Housing and Community Development has announced two awards to the City of Santa Monica for future...

Asian Woman in Brentwood Verbally Assaulted in Racially Motivated Attack

February 18, 2021

February 18, 2021

While walking near the intersection of Bundy and Montana an Asian woman was verbally assaulted by a man walking his...

Video: Catalytic Converter Theft Spikes In Westside Neighborhoods

February 18, 2021

February 18, 2021

Catalytic converter theft is on the rise, what vehicles are most at risk and prevention techniques in this video brought...

Poll Reports Santa Monicans Think City is on Wrong Track

February 18, 2021

February 18, 2021

Local anti-union watchdog group Eyes on 11 releases survey results By Sam Catanzaro “The decay we feel in Santa Monica...

From Donuts to Bone Broth in Santa Monica

February 18, 2021

February 18, 2021

Alfalfa opens on Main Street in Santa Monica By Toi Creel A new restaurant has opened in Santa Monica, bringing...

Food Review: Highway Robbery on PCH

February 18, 2021

February 18, 2021

An unmemorable breakfast burrito at Rockwell Kitchen By Kerry Slater A gourmet food truck on Pacific Coast Highway near the...

Edify TV: Westside Schools to Reopen?

February 16, 2021

February 16, 2021

Health officials have given the green light for certain Los Angeles schools to begin in-person instruction but Westside parents may...

Looking for Book Recommendations to Add to Your 2021 List?

February 16, 2021

February 16, 2021

Reading proven positive mental health benefits including stress relief, broadening empathy, fighting off dementia, and even helping those with depression,...