CITY HALL — Bring popcorn.

City Council will consider two separate agreements at Tuesday’s meeting that could bring major movie theaters — both ArcLight Cinemas — to the city by the sea.

The first agreement is the final approval of an ArcLight to be situated on third level of Santa Monica Place. The theater could feature as many as 1,500 seats and 13 screens.

The ArcLight will add height to the Bloomingdale’s building. The building, which is currently 56 feet tall, could rise to 84 feet when the project is complete.

Proposed community benefits include funding for the Colorado Esplanade (an incoming pedestrian gateway connecting the Expo Light Rail station to Downtown) and wayfinding signage Downtown.

The second agreement is the first step toward bringing a larger ArcLight to the property currently occupied by Parking Structure 3 on Fourth Street at Arizona Avenue.

If approved, the agreement would allow City Hall to negotiate exclusively with ArcLight and Macerich (the proposed developer and owner of Santa Monica Place) about the details of the 12- to 16-screen, 2,400- to 2,700-seat theater complex.

The building wouldn’t exceed 84 feet in height, according to city officials.

Parking Structure 3 currently holds 324 parking spaces but, according to city officials, the recently reconstructed Parking Structure 6 has more parking spaces, “thereby facilitating the site’s reuse as a contemporary cinema.”

AMC entered into a similar agreement for the property in 2009, but the deal fell through in 2012. Negotiations for the property had been on hold because — thanks to the dissolution of the redevelopment agency — the state Department of Finance was refusing to transfer City Hall’s parking structures. In December, the structures were cleared.

If approved, ArcLight and Macerich will have to go through City Hall’s development agreement process with the Planning Commission, Architectural Review Board and council.

Construction could take 18 months and likely wouldn’t start until 2016 or 2017.

Many city officials and representatives from the Downtown have long stressed the need for modern cinemas with stadium seating in Santa Monica. Cinemas are often loss leaders, paying lower rents, but drawing shoppers to surrounding businesses.

Last year, Jonathan Wolf, director of AFM, the world’s largest independent film market, complained of the lack of new theaters in Santa Monica.

 

Buffer Park

 

Council will consider approval of the plans for the park meant to muffle the sounds from the incoming Expo Maintenance Facility. Buffer Park, as it will be called until a better name is selected, would be a long, narrow 2.35-acre strip along Exposition Boulevard between Stewart Street and Dorchester Avenue.

The maintenance facility will provide service to the incoming Expo Light Rail.

The park is designed as a long chain of different sections, such as the learning garden, the rock garden, the meadow and the bird garden.

If approved, construction could begin as early as next year. The cost of the project will become apparent when council considers the construction contract.

 

dave@smdp.com

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