MIRAMAR DEVELOPERS STILL DON’T GET IT

We’ve lost count of the number of Miramar full
color mailers that have turned up in our mail
boxes. Each one of them has attempted to explain
its massive project to us. But the problem isn’t
that we don’t understand it. The problem is that
the Miramar owners don’t understand us or Santa
Monica.

Its slogan is “Restoring Our Legacy – Invest-
ing In Santa Monica’s future.” In fact, Santa
Monica residents and the Miramar owners don’t
have a common legacy. The residents’ legacy is
long and illustrious and unique, and it is un-
der fire now and threatened by an increasing
number of mammoth projects – including the Mir-
amar, which proposes knocking down virtually
everything on its block and replacing it with
a faux Art Deco tower that is 320 feet tall
(twice the height of the Huntley). But if res-
idents have their way, and they should because
it’s their town, nothing new will be over 55
feet.

What’s more, the owners, led by Michael Dell,
a billionaire, aren’t investing in our fu-
ture. They’re not even investing their own mo-
ney in their project. The L.A. Times has re-
ported that in order to reduce their taxes,
they used a loophole which allows a tax re-
duction if none of its owners holds a majority
of the stock – never mind that two of the four
owners are Mr. Dell and his wife.

As significant, the sale of the 120 condos
will cover the construction loan that will
pay for the tower, several smaller buildings,
the inevitable “retail,” underground parking,
and the so-called “public space” that will
only be “public” when hotel guests aren’t
using it.

As the mailer notes, no developer of hotels
in his right mind would build a “luxury hotel”
these days without including “luxury” condos
as equity.

The mailer promises the ”luxury Miramar” will
generate new property taxes, but it’s unlikely
that the owners will discontinue to use the
loopholes.

It promises to build “affordable housing” but,
in fact, condominium developers are required
to build affordable housing. It’s a simple eq-
uation. 120 “luxury” condos mandates 12 “affor-
dable” housing units – across Second Street.

It also promises to “support the City’s vision
for Downtown…Our City Council has recently em-
braced creating a dynamic, mixed use environ-
ment for our Downtown with more housing for all
income levels.”

That’s the plan that has been in the works
for three years and has stalled out due to
residents’ continuing objections to the City’s
“vision,” which includes the Miramar proposal.

The Miramar mailer’s reference to “Our City
Council” inadvertantly sums up the real dilem-
ma. For, as the Transparency Group’s recent
brilliant report demonstrated, the majority of
the City Council has been bought by developers,
who will, in time, make billions from their
investments here in this gloriously idiosyn-
cratic beach town — once they reduce it to
a “luxury” money mill.

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