Planning Commission discusses Promenade 3.0
By Sam Catanzaro
As online shopping has transformed the retail market over the past decade, shopping destinations like the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica have seen brick and mortar sales decline. In order to adapt to the changing nature of consumers in the 21st century, stakeholders are looking to take measures to protect the vitality of the Promenade.
At their regular meeting on June 19, the Santa Monica Planning Commission passed a resolution of intention to make changes to the city’s zoning code intended to revitalize the Promenade, an endeavor launched in 2018 known as Promenade 3.0.
“[The] Promenade is an essential component of the Downtown’s economic sustainability and emphasizes the importance of reevaluating and refreshing the Promenade so that it remains attractive and exciting to residents and visitors,” reads the resolution.
Promenade 3.0, a joint effort between the City of Santa Monica and Downtown Santa Moninca, Inc (DTSM) is a three-faceted, comprehensive design and planning overview of the Third Street Promenade. The review looks at physical design, leasing strategies, marketing and events as avenues to revitalize the shopping destination.
On June 19, planning commissioners heard from Alan A Loomis, a City Urban Designer, on specific ways the City and DTSM can fulfill the goals of Promenade 3.0. Among changes to the zoning code include amendments to: allow more breweries and coffee roasters; activate alleys by altering waste management and loading dock requirements; increase opportunities for projects to qualify for alcohol exemptions and live music; streamline the process for permitting short-term use of tenant spaces (i.e. “pop-up stores).
“It is clear with this type of approach there are opportunities to both amplify both the inclusion and the effectiveness and the street life that the Promenade represents,” said Commissioner Shawn Landres at the meeting.
Commissioner Leslie Lambert, in her remarks at the meeting, indicated that Promenade 3.0 should not turn the Promenade into something like the Grove.
“The name Rick Caruso has come up a number of times, and I do not think there is anybody in this room who wants to replicate the Grove. I am not a fan of Rick Caruso’s work. I think they are invented ‘main streets’ and not authentic,” Lambert said. “I think the Promenade is a very authentic place and I know the design we talked about for the future will reflect that.”
The action by the Planning Commission June 19 does not result in actual changes to the City’s zoning code but instead presents Santa Monica City Council recommendations of changes to the zoning code for final approval at a later date.