I attended the Bergamot Station Arts Center meeting on May 6 and I have the following comments:
1. The existing Bergamot Station Arts Center is extremely fragile. It can only exist if it has on-site parking, easy access and lower rent rates. Without these three legs it will collapse.
2. The proposed hotel and commercial office space would eliminate at least one if not two of these legs. Therefore the proposed hotel and commercial office space with the traffic and congestion it would cause cannot co-exist with the existing Bergamot Station Arts Center. Also it’s planned that the proposed hotel and commercial office space would subsidize the existing arts center and a bigger Santa Monica Museum of Art building. But having the proposed hotel and commercial office space would kill the existing center. We can’t have both. We can have either the existing Bergamot Station Arts Center or the proposed hotel and commercial office space but not both. We have to decide which of the two is more important to us.
3. For me, as a resident of Santa Monica, the choice is simple. But we residents really haven’t been given a choice. At this May 6 meeting, the City Planning Department wanted us to choose which of the three contractors we preferred. This is like asking a condemned man which he prefers — being shot, hung or electrocuted.
4. I stated the above comments on the forms provided by the City Planning Department at the meeting but we know this is an exercise in futility. The Planning Department goes through the motions, checks the boxes and then ignores the wishes of residents as happened with the Hines Project across the street. The whole City Planning Department public review process is a façade and sham. They have no intention of doing what the residents want, only what the pro-developer City Council majority wants them to do. The decision has already been made regarding the existing Bergamot Station Arts Center. If you want to see what the end result will be go look at the Quonset Hut at Broadway and Ninth Street. That will be your new Bergamot Station Arts Center with all the traffic and congestion that the proposed hotel and commercial office space will create in an area already suffering from traffic congestion and gridlock.
Dr. Daniel Galamba