I find the writers of [the column] Room for a View to be somewhat disingenuous. They write only of square footage in proposed and approved new projects (“Creating a different Downtown,” Room for a View, June 12).
They neglected to mention what worries most of us: it’s the height and density of buildings, not the total square footage. Moreover, Colorado Center, the Arboretum, and the Water Garden are at the more eastern end of Santa Monica, and don’t impinge on ocean breezes or ocean views (not available so far east). The writers are talking apples and oranges.
Residents are concerned about the massive development in the Downtown core and the very nature of Santa Monica’s attraction as a charming beach community. The massive 22-story hotel planned by Gehry is wrong for Santa Monica. His designs, such as the 76-story tower in Manhattan, work there because New York is a skyscraper town. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Disney Music Center on Grand Avenue, while stunning, are in major metropolitan settings. Yes, Santa Monica is a tourist attraction, but it is not a metropolitan city. It is a home for thousands of residents, not millions. Santa Monica should not become a kind of Miami Beach west — no matter how noted the architect may be.
And speaking of Tongva Park, whose idea was it to put those hugely weird, ugly, metal, half-moon lattice works facing Ocean Avenue? I have no idea what they are supposed to signify, but they are extremely distracting and their appearance is unattractive. Of course, the density of the massed buildings on the same side of the avenue is equally distressing. What happened to airspace between buildings? By the way, someone should have mentioned to the landscape architects that sycamore trees that were planted in the Tongva garden will shed their leaves like mad, so additional maintenance will be required.