January 20, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Planning Commission Approves New Wellness Center

20th and Arizona project given green light 

By Dolores Quintana

The redevelopment of the administration wing of the former Gates, Kingsley, and Gates Mortuary has officially been approved by the Santa Monica Planning Commission as reported by the Santa Monica Daily Press

The building was built in 1933 and the chapel area of the original building was redeveloped and turned into the Tartine Bakery and restaurant. A previous version of the development was turned down by the commission as a Tier Two project that would have been five stories and 70 feet tall that was first proposed in 2016. As approved, the new version of the proposed Wellness Center is a Tier One project that will be 45 feet tall, three story building containing 76,167 square feet of research and development and medical clinic facility space that comes with an underground parking structure that is five levels deep and comes with 275 parking spaces.

All told the project will be contained in the parcels of land at 1925 Arizona Avenue along with 1234 and 1242 20th Street. The principal objection to the first proposal seems to be the height of the proposed building that the Commission didn’t feel fit the character of the city. The new project makes an effort to maintain the character of the Gates, Kingsley, and Gates Mortuary building’s Tudor Revival style and landscaping to address the concerns of the Commission. The changes to the GKG building would be limited to removal of an outside veneer that was not part of the original plan and changes in access points. 

The staff report notes that “The Wellness Center would accommodate a range of medical research activities, including space for laboratory modules, specialized equipment, medical archives, and support offices. The project would include approximately 54,000 square feet of medical related research and development space within the P1 level, ground floor, and second floor. Medical clinic and outpatient care would include exam rooms and flexible spaces for patient treatment and administration. The project would include 18,428 square feet of medical clinic space and occupy the entire third floor.” 

Another concern led Commissioner Ellis Raskin to forgo voting on the project. Commission Raskin also refused to support the Environmental report on the development. Raskin said that “The loss of 10 potential apartment units needed to be addressed and that the $560,000 in mitigation fees paid to offset the removal was not enough.” and added that “Notwithstanding how much money we’re getting out of it, we’re still losing 10 apartments. That impact should be appropriately mitigated. For that reason I think I’m not going to be supporting the EIR,” as quoted by the Santa Monica Daily Press. Because of the housing crisis, the Commission has temporarily decided to refuse to consider any new projects that are not housing units, but has allowed developments that are already under consideration to be reviewed and potentially approved. 

Commissioner Shawn Landres said in response, “I want to say very clearly, as we saw in the staff report, Council explicitly exempted applications that were in the pipeline as of a certain date when it moved to restrict the production of commercial uses on unavailable properties. So I too wish this was housing, it is a great site for housing. But I don’t feel in the context of a quasi-judicial hearing that we can refuse to certify the EIR or refuse to approve a project given the council has clearly made policy on this matter,” as quoted by the Santa Monica Daily Press

Another concern with the building regarded the former mortuary’s use of dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde. Commissioner Mario Fonda-Bonardi was disappointed by the lack of action on the part of the council on this issue and said, “I am not happy that we cannot raise the bar regarding health and safety beyond what maybe the green code allowed. I think we should be pushing ahead. And every chance we get we should push ahead. So the argument that we can’t make it for this project because we’d have to make it for all the other projects, I think is exactly upside down. We should make it for all the other projects,” according to the Santa Monica Daily Press.

Related Posts

Santa Monica Vons’s Development Sees Design Changes

January 14, 2022

January 14, 2022

Santa Monica’s 710 Broadway development design changes shown in new renderings By Dolores Quintana The 710 Broadway Project developer has...

Santa Monica’s Future: Will Developers or Residents Rule? – Part 2 Our Downtown

January 14, 2022

January 14, 2022

This is the 2nd of five weekly articles looking at the history and current condition of Santa Monica’s beachfront environment...

A New Years Glimpse Into Santa Monica’s Future: Will Developers or Residents Rule?

January 7, 2022

January 7, 2022

It’s a New Year, a make-or-break year for Santa Monica!! How much do you care about your city and it’s...

NYC-Based Developer Finalizes Acquisition of Major Santa Monica Residential Development Site

January 7, 2022

January 7, 2022

Tishman Speyer to begin construction in late 2022 on its first LA-area residential project By Sam Catanzaro An NYC-based developer...

Opinion: Attorney General Spurs on Big 2022 Housing Battle

January 7, 2022

January 7, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist There will be plenty of political battles next year, starting with likely reelection challenges to Gov....

NYC Developer Buys Eight Downtown Santa Monica Properties

December 17, 2021

December 17, 2021

Tishman Speyer snags prime Downtown Santa Monica real estate By Dolores Quintana Scott Walter’s land development company WSC put 23...

Stagnant Rent Growth Forecasted for Westside Cities and Neighborhoods

December 17, 2021

December 17, 2021

Lusk Center for Real Estate at USC releases annual study By Dolores Quintana The Lusk Center for Real Estate at...

West LA Development Would Bring 455 Units to Expo Bundy Area

December 17, 2021

December 17, 2021

Carmel Partners proposes large residential development By Dolores Quintana The Los Angeles Department of City Planning has received a proposal...

City Council Approves Shore Hotel Restaurant, Spa and Micro Hotel

December 13, 2021

December 13, 2021

Contentious five hours of debate results in 4-3 vote last week  By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica City...

Santa Monica City Council Denies Oceana Hotel Bid to Make Restaurant Public

December 10, 2021

December 10, 2021

Ocean Avenue hotel’s proposal defeated in deadlock vote By Dolores Quintana The Oceana Hotel’s second attempt to make their in-house...

100,000 Square Foot Biotech Lab and Offices Planned for Pico Boulevard

December 4, 2021

December 4, 2021

Pico and Sepulveda development proposed By Dolors Quintana A 100,000 square foot biotech lab space with offices is planned for Pico...

Building Conversion in Today’s Market Environment

December 3, 2021

December 3, 2021

Adaptive reuse, repurposing, and up-cycling of industrial and commercial buildings (“Conversion”) for greater in-demand uses are rapidly becoming the direction...

Developer Donates $1 Million to Support Housing Development at the West Los Angeles VA Campus

December 3, 2021

December 3, 2021

Pledge includes a $500,000 monetary donation and $500,000 in pro bono work By Staff Writer Hudson Pacific Properties, Inc. has...

State’s Housing Solution Starts Happening

December 3, 2021

December 3, 2021

By Tom Elias, Columnist It’s happening. Despite the best efforts of California’s highly ideological, developer-financed state legislators, the solution to...

Mixed-Use Development With Possible Bank Coming to Wilshire Boulevard

November 19, 2021

November 19, 2021

Wilshire and Harvard development to include 9 studio apartments By Dolores Quintana Two commercial buildings are being redeveloped into a...