City Council wrap-up for 11/27/12, posted at http://www.smgov.net/departments/council/wrapup.aspx —

By Zina Josephs

“DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT FLOAT-UP FOR A NEW MIXED-USE PROJECT AT 3402 PICO BOULEVARD – Council discussed the applicant’s Development Agreement proposal and provided direction regarding the appropriateness of the site development and potential community benefits. Council encouraged the applicant to return after evaluating alternative uses of the site before beginning the Development Agreement negotiation and review process between the City and Developer.”

From Zina: Thank you to the 41 Sunset Park residents who spent hours at the City Council meeting on November 26th in order to speak so eloquently during Public Comment on agenda item 8-B, the 3402 Pico Development Agreement. Not a single resident supported the project as proposed, and apparently the same was true of about 100 emails that the Council members received. Concerns included the height and density of the project, traffic impacts, and the health impacts on future residents living 19 feet from the freeway.

I have not yet been able to obtain the exact wording of the motion that was passed by the Council, but my understanding of what happened is that the Council did the following:

1) denied the project as presented,
2) asked for more information about the existing air quality at the site, and
3) asked for Environmental Impact Reports to be prepared for the project a) as proposed, b) a significantly smaller version of the proposed project, and c) a commercial/office-only version of the project.

I wasn’t able to attend the July 2012 Planning Commission hearing on this project, but I’ve been told that of about 50 residents who attended, the only person who supported the project was Bob Kronovet.

Likewise, at the January 26, 2012 community meeting at Fairview Library, the standing-room-only crowd was opposed to the project, based on size and traffic.

Pico/Centinela in the news – October 2011 to November 2012:

“Developer, City Sent Back to Drawing Board” — November 29, 2012 — Santa Monica Dispatch — http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2012/11/developer-city-sent-back-to-drawing-board/

“Apartments proposed 19 feet from freeway” — November 28, 2012 — Daily Press — http://www.smdp.com/apartments-proposed-19ft-from-freeway/114935

Letter: “Just Say No” — November 27, 2012 — Santa Monica Daily Press — http://www.smdp.com/letter-just-say-no/114844

“City at Point of Enough” — November 27, 2012 — Santa Monica Dispatch — http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2012/11/city-at-point-of-enough/

“To the Council: Scale It Down” — November 27, 2012 — Santa Monica Dispatch — http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2012/11/to-the-council

“Traffic Already Intolerable” — November 27, 2012 — Santa Monica Dispatch — http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2012/11/pico-traffic-already-intolerable/

“Development Paralyzing Sunset Park” — November 27, 2012 — Santa Monica Dispatch — http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2012/11/development-paralyzing-sunset-park/

“Sunset Park Is Not New York” — November 27, 2012 — Santa Monica Dispatch — http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2012/11/sunset-park-is-not-new-york/

“To the City Council: Reject This Project” — November 26, 2012 — Santa Monica Dispatch — http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2012/11/to-city-council-reject-this-project/

“Council Members Have Been Duped” — November 26, 2012 — Santa Monica Dispatch — http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2012/11/council-members-have-been-duped

“The Bigger Is Best, Money Is All, Crowd Convenes” — November 25, 2012 — Santa Monica Dispatch — http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2012/11/the-bigger-is-better-most-is-best-money-is-all-crowd-convenes/

Public Correspondence re 3402 Pico Blvd. — http://www.smgov.net/departments/council/agendas/2012/20121127/s2012112708-B-2.pdf

“Pico-Centinela Development too Urban? Neighbors of the proposed mixed-use project at Pico Boulevard and Centinela Avenue call on developers to downsize.” — July 24, 2012 — Santa Monica Patch — http://santamonica.patch.com/articles/pico-centinela-development-raises-traffic-parking-concerns#photo-10746875

“Pico-Centinela Development Project Sparks Public Debate” — July 20, 2012 — Santa Monica Mirror — http://www.smmirror.com/articles/News/Pico-Centinela-Development-Project-Sparks-Public-Debate/35060 — (with aerial photo of the site)

“Plans Submitted to Turn Old Grammy Building into Rental, Mixed Use” — January 25, 2012 — LA Curbed — http://la.curbed.com/archives/2012/01/plans_submitted_to_turn_old_grammy_hq_into_rental_mixeduse.php#reader_

“Trammell Crow Flies into New Controversy” — January 23, 2012 — Santa Monica Daily Press — http://www.smdp.com/trammell-crow-flies-into-new-controversy/80147

“Pico Development Too Big, Neighbors Say” — January 23, 2012 — Santa Monica Patch — http://santamonica.patch.com/articles/pico-centinela-project

“City, Trammel Crow Surprise Sunset Park Residents” — January 18, 2012 — Santa Monica Dispatch — http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2012/01/city-trammell-crow-surprise-sunset-park-residents/

“Recording Academy, Which Awards Grammys, Sells Santa Monica Headquarters” — October 2, 2011 — Los Angeles Times — http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2011/09/grammy-recording-academy-sells-santa-monica-headquarters.html

“The Recording Academy, the organization that hands out the music industry’s annual Grammy Awards, sold its former Santa Monica headquarters to developers.

Developer Trammell Crow Co. and investment firm Westport Capital Partners bought the unoccupied three-story office building at 3402 Pico Blvd. and two adjacent residential parcels, real estate brokerage CB Richard Ellis said.

The price was not disclosed, but Westside real estate experts familiar with the property valued the deal at more than $10 million.

Trammell Crow hasn’t decided exactly what to do with the property yet, Senior Managing Director Brad Cox said, but some kind of residential development is likely.

“It’s a great piece of real estate in Santa Monica, where you [ordinarily] can’t find two and half acres of contiguous space,” Cox said.

The 39,128-square-foot office building constructed in 1969 has been vacant since the Recording Academy moved in 2009 to larger quarters in the nearby Lantana office park, which is home to many entertainment industry businesses.

Trammell Crow may refurbish the former Recording Academy building and rent it to a single tenant while building housing alongside. Or the developer may demolish the office and a vacant 11-unit apartment house on one of the adjacent parcels to make way for a new apartment complex.

“We’re looking at a combination of possibilities,” Cox said.

Development would conform with the city’s recent general plan update, he said. The east Santa Monica neighborhood that was formerly an industrial center is in the path of planned light rail service and is gentrifying.

“It’s turning into kind of a hipster location,” Cox said.

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