By Jorge Casuso
June 25 -- It should be smooth sailing now for the
proposed redevelopment of two aging motels on Ocean Avenue
after their owner and the Macerich company, which is redeveloping
the adjacent Santa Monica Place mall, agreed last week to
support each other’s projects.
The agreement paves the way
for the proposed redevelopment
of the half-century-old Travelodge
and Sands motels, which total
87 rooms, into a new 164-room
hotel comprised of two buildings
that City officials say will
add much-needed affordable lodgings
to Santa Monica’s increasingly
pricey coastal zone.
|Proposed Travelodge facing Ocean
Avenue. (Renderings courtesy of Gensler)
“We’re both in a position now where we totally
have accepted their project as is, and they’ve accepted
our project as is,” Robert Aptaker, Macerich’s
vice president of development, told the Planning Commission
Dr. Michael Farzam, whose family owns the Travelodge, said
he and his family will “work with Macerich in good faith
“It represents a strength and not a weakness to be
willing to compromise certain viewpoints that one values,
and I believe this supportive agreement sets a good example
of what positive things can be accomplished,” Farzam
Macerich officials had opposed the 45-foot-tall development,
because it would block the ocean views from the open-air third
level food court featured in the company’s plans to
remodel the struggling indoor mall. (see
“We’re going to work together in good faith to
look for ways that will be mutually beneficial to both of
us, to improve our view some, which is in our best interest,”
“And we recognize that it is in everyone’s best
interest. . . to have affordable lodgings in Downtown Santa
Monica,” Aptaker said.
Farzam said his family also will try to accommodate Macerich’s
“We’ll work with them in good faith to move anything
that could block their view,” Farzam told The Lookout.
Farzam said the agreement allows the project to move ahead
with the release of a draft Environmental Impact Report in
the next month and a hearing before the Planning Commission
by late fall.
“Affordable lodging in the coastal zone is a big issue,
because it’s been significantly lost,” Farzam
said. “We think it’s a very nice project for the
city and the community. We hope it will go smoothly.”
The proposed project -- which is the first affordable hotel
since the Farzam family built the Best Western on Ocean Avenue
in 1992 -- will forego many of the amenities typical of luxury
hotels, farzam said.
The new Travelodge, with rooms in the $150-a-night range,
will have limited amenities. There will be “no multiple
room suites, a restaurant, a bar, conferencing facilities,
a gym, a spa or similar amenities typically found in more
upscale or luxury hotels,” Farzam said.
|Proposed development facing 2nd
The proposed project will feature approximately 296 parking
spaces in a four-level underground parking garage, or some
100 parking spaces more than required by the City and Coastal
Commission. The parking will be leased to neighboring businesses,
including restaurants facing a parking crunch.
The project also includes some 3,200 square feet of retail
space facing Second Street,
Although the 45-foot-tall structure abides by existing zoning
codes, the project will require a variance for a pedestrian
bridge that will allow guests to move between the two proposed
structures above the alley.
After the scheduled Planning Commission hearing, the project
will go before the Architectural Review Board, the City Council
and the California Coastal Commission.