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Anti-Development Rally Planned Tuesday In Front Of Santa Monica City Hall

Image courtesy: CIty of Santa Monica
A rendering of the mixed-used Hines project at 1681 26th Street that would total 765,095 square feet of housing, creative office space, and restaurant and retail space if approved under the development agreement’s current form.

A group of Santa Monica residents have organized a rally in front of City Hall Tuesday evening in anticipation of the City Council’s impending vote of a proposed five-building development nearing 800,000 square feet in size at Bergamot Station.

The rally is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Feb. 4; the citizen-based group Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC) coordinated the rally with a mass e-mail to an undisclosed number of recipients.

“This Tuesday, February 4, our City Council will be voting on whether to allow a powerful, politically connected, Texas developer to build its massive, unpopular project in the most congested part of our city,” the email signed-off by four members of the SMCLC stated. “If this developer wins, the floodgates will open for the other 35 Development Agreements in the pipeline. If this development is rejected, developers will be on notice that residents will no longer tolerate the status quo.”

Hines 26th Street LLC has proposed to build what is considered to be the largest-ever development in Santa Monica. The project, if realized, would be at 1681 26th Street, near the intersection of 26th Street and Olympic Boulevard.

The proposed project would be located adjacent to an Expo Line station at Bergamot Station and could transform the area into a combined commercial, residential, and transit neighborhood.

If approved in its current form, the proposed Hines project would bring 473 rental housing units, 25 artist work/live units, and an estimated 400,000 square feet of creative office, restaurant, and retail space to Olympic Boulevard and 26th Street.

The Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) estimated the Hines project would generate more than 7,000 new daily vehicular trips in the Bergamot Station area.

Also proposed is about 90,000 square feet of open space, a three-level subterranean parking structure accommodating between 1,900 and 2,100 parking spaces, the construction of two new north/south streets with signalized intersections at Olympic Boulevard, and an east/west extension of Nebraska Avenue connecting 26th and Stewart Streets.

The proposed project’s five buildings would average 71 feet in height, with the tallest building reaching 81 feet, according to the final EIR.

Also according to the final EIR, the proposed project would require the removal of coral trees in the area. The report describes the trees as a “recognized scenic resource.”

The Santa Monica City Council held a public hearing Jan. 28 on the proposed Hines development agreement (DA). An estimated 120 speakers addressed council members in favor or opposition of the proposed project. However, the council decided to postpone deliberations and the final vote one week.

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