In response to a letter on the Miramar project by Jeff Segal (“Development is taxing,” Letters to the Editor, July 17), I felt compelled to reply to a number of assertions which should not go unanswered. The Miramar was described as a luxury condo development, “not a hotel development.” It is true the number of hotel rooms would be slightly reduced, but average room rates would be largely increased, bringing in considerably more city tax at 14 percent. Two other hotel projects in Santa Monica are proposed in combination with condos, a new economic model more common in such projects.
It was stated in the letter that new condo residents would require increased public safety and “public welfare services.” In such a project, private security systems would be provided, and even the suggestion of “public welfare” seems ludicrous. Also the letter anticipated a loss of tax revenue from the adjacent Huntley Hotel “by taking away its ocean views.” The latest Miramar plans would obstruct Huntley’s views less than 30 degrees (15 percent) from Malibu to Palos Verdes, and only from the upper floors. Occupancy and room rates would remain high. Existing views are already obstructed up to 10 to 12 floors by the old Miramar tower.
The proposed development is not “double the size” allowed under current zoning; in fact it is well under what is allowed. The effective Floor Area Ratio for the site would permit 672,000 square feet of building area, and current project plans call for considerably less. As for environmental impact, demolition would result in much less than the Rand buildings taken down for Tongva Park. “Giant amounts of dust” and “toxins” were no apparent problem. The new LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification for the Miramar would improve operating efficiency, with open space increased to over 50 percent of the site.
In conclusion, Segal’s letter suggests that nearby residents’ home equity would “plummet in value because their ocean view is taken away.” South Bay Towers is the only condo building near the Miramar whose view would be slightly narrowed to the south, and then only for the lower floors. The opponents of the project have resorted to gross exaggeration and false statements to counter the proposed redevelopment of the Miramar Hotel site. The density is in conformance with existing zoning and the building configuration has been carefully considered.