The Bergamot Station Arts Center is yet another planned development project. Santa Monica has one of the premier arts centers in Southern California. It’s successful, it has character, it has style, and it has passionate art gallery and theatre operators. It’s worth preserving!
So, that means City staff will try to find a way to destroy that uniqueness and add a hotel, offices & retail to the complex. The Gallery owners know that the redevelopment of the Bergamot Arts Center will lead to their demise. The easy, free surface parking that exists now will leave. Parking will either be underground or off premises. A 6 story Hotel will be added to the Arts Center, the City Garage theatre will have to leave and an entrance created to handle the Expo line foot traffic.
As always we haven’t thought through the plans or ramifications to the Gallery owners, atmosphere of the Center or the impact on residents. A lot of this translates into something that many residents discuss all the time.
It’s called infrastructure. That must come first. In film terms we do a great job in Santa Monica with construction production…we forget about proper pre and post production. Parking is integral to the success of the galleries, the retention of the City Garage theatre and the retention of the existing buildings. It’s also essential to the success of the adjacent Expo station. We shouldn’t be adding unnecessary turmoil to a successful section of our town.
The residents weren’t looking for a mini Hines Project. We just stopped the one across the street. It feels like the residents are playing whack-a-mole with developments now. The off site parking is paramount. Green space as part of this project is paramount. A welcoming open arms rail station and gallery complex is paramount.
As residents we are tired of hearing about hotels. But if a hotel is something that enhances the complex and does not destroy the charm of the Bergamot Arts Center then it must have a maximum height of 50 feet. The Ambrose and Shore Hotels are good examples.
One last thing, nobody in our city government has given any great reasons for this redevelopment of the Bergamot Arts Center. It would seem that we shouldn’t touch something unless it’s broke…this center isn’t broken.