City Council Approves Miramar Expansion Project
October 1, 2020
By Stan Greene
Culminating a ten year struggle, the Santa Monica City Council approved a massive new development for the North East corner of Ocean Avenue and Wilshire Blvd on Tuesday night. The project will include 60 incredibly expensive condominiums, 300 or so luxury hotel rooms, and 22 units of affordable housing across Second Street.
Many people spoke out against the project, which hired Councilmember Gleam Davis' husband as a consultant. Davis recused herself, and the Council voted 4 to 2 to approve it. Kevin McKeown and Sue Himmelrich were the dissenting votes.
Development was inevitable when billionaire Michael Dell's MSD Capital acquired the property for $210 million in 2006. In 2011, the new owners announced plans to demolish the existing structures and build a new hotel/residential complex on the site.
Frankly it could have been a lot worse. Dell submitted plans to erect a 21-story tower in 2013. The enormous project proved a non starter after serious community objections. It even led to MeasureLV, a 2016 ballot initiative that would have limited development, but was defeated.
Dell filed plans for a scaled-down, though still large replacement hotel on April 12, 2018. The new building, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, will be 130 feet tall, the maximum allowable height following new restrictions. The project is expected to take three years, but still requires Coastal Commission approval to move forward.
In addition to planting the Miramar property's original rose garden, and the trees that line some of Santa Monica's streets, Sen Jones' wife Georgina Jones is perhaps best-known for planting a Moreton Bay Fig Tree, which she received as a gift. The tree still stands in the hotel's front courtyard, at a height of 100 feet, with a 129 feet canopy, and a trunk 569 inches around. The new development plans to keep the tree alive.
The project will include: "312 newly designed guest rooms (11 net new). 13,000 sf of meeting space, including a 10,000-sf divisible main ballroom with 20-foot+ tall ceilings and state-of-the art audiovisual technology. 11,500 sf of food and beverage spaces, with new outdoor dining venues open to the public, including new second floor locations with dramatic views of Santa Monica Bay for a reimagined FIG Restaurant and The Bungalow. 12,500 sf of spa and fitness. 6,600 sf of retail space including 5,500 sf of ground floor retail along Wilshire."
Before and after pictures are included with this article. They are from https://www.themiramarsantamonica.com/before-after/