Santa Monica Lookout
Saint John's Won't Have to Build Parking Structure, Santa Monica Officials Say
By Jason Islas
October 16, 2013 -- Saint John's Health Center (SJHC) won't have to build a parking structure to replace the spaces it lost after the Colorado Center terminated the hospital's lease in March, City officials said.
After months of back and forth, City Hall finally approved revised plans by the Health Center to provide more than the number of parking spaces required by the hospital's development agreement (DA) by using valet services and leasing off-site parking spaces.
“The updated Parking Management Plan and inventory of SJHC parking facilities demonstrates that after the completion of the Entry Plaza in October, there would be a total of 1,360 spaces to serve the hospital,” staff said.
“These parking spaces would consist of 740 spaces owned by SJHC, including spaces created through valet/attendant parking, and 620 leased parking spaces,” said staff.
A 2011 amendment to the hospital's 1998 DA requires that the Health Center provide the number of parking spaces equivalent a 442-space underground parking garage that was never built.
Under the amendment, if the hospital fails to provide a “functionally equivalent” number of parking spaces, it must build the parking structure.
The amendment also requires the hospital to provide enough parking to accommodate peak demand. According to a study undertaken by a consultant hired by the Health Center, that is 1,160 spaces.
City staffed confirmed that number, but added that Saint John's would have to provide “data and analysis of parking operations on the north and south campuses after the Entry Plaza has opened later this month.”
Until March, Saint John's leased 450 parking spaces at the Colorado Center. However, the Center's owners opted to terminate that lease, leaving hospital officials to figure out where to make up the deficit in parking spaces.
The first two iterations of the Health Center's parking plan following the end of its lease with Colorado Center did not pass muster.
Originally, Saint John's proposed only replacing 190 of the 450 lost spaces, arguing that the Colorado Spaces were rarely used to capacity.
In April, the City rejected the claim and told Health Center officials to revise the plan or they would be required to build the costly underground parking structure.
Hospital officials responded by seeking out additional parking options, including holding on to 85 parking spaces at the Colorado Center, leasing an additional 125 spaces at a nearby parking garage and renewing its lease with St. Anne's for 85 spaces.
“(E)ach of the three lease agreements at the Held structure, Colorado Center, and St. Anne’s Church, are currently in effect and are on file with the City,” staff said.
In May, Saint John's entered into exclusive negotiations to with Providence Health & Services to take over the troubled Santa Monica institution, which had been struggling financially.
Saint John's posted losses of nearly $22 million in 2010 and nearly $13 million in 2011 and in December, two of its top executives and 15 members of its 17-member board were ousted. (“Shakeup at Saint John’s Health Center Will Have Unknown Consequences for Santa Monica Charities,” December 2012)
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