MID-CITY — A new MINI dealership will open its doors on Santa Monica Boulevard at 14th Street.
The 33,400 square-foot, 35-feet-tall development was approved with relative ease at last week’s City Council meeting.
The dealership stands to generate about half a million dollars for City Hall annually and will include a small café.
Council’s only concern was that the developer would not be able to mitigate construction impacts.
An environmental report noted that “construction-related groundborne vibration would be significant and unavoidable.”
Additionally one resident showed the council footage of loud bulldozers operating outside her window during the demolition of a gas station that previously stood on the site. She claimed that she made numerous calls to the developer without adequate response and was forced to leave her rent controlled apartment. She is seeking compensation but had not reported the issues to City Hall.
Councilmember Kevin McKeown alluded to a hawk he’d seen watching his neighborhood in giving recommendation to city officials as to how to watch the project.
“I think fact-finding and good faith are key in this process because we represent not just the business community or MINI owners but residents,” he said, “and we’ve heard some discussion tonight that, at least in my mind, causes me to question whether we can trust that this project going forward will treat residents the way residents near a project to be treated.”
Councilmember Ted Winterer said he was comfortable with the way the agreement seeks to control construction impacts but agreed with McKeown’s notion that, given the site’s history, it needs to be monitored.
McKeown, who said the applicant should have done more to deal with the resident’s complaints, said he toyed with voting against the project in protest.
“And yet looking at the project, I have to say, this is a good project,” he said. “And I believe in voting for good projects as much as I believe in voting against bad projects.”
Several people spoke favorably about the dealership, which will be mostly black with green, yellow, and red accents. One MINI will hang upside-down in the café and another will face downward on the outside of the building.
“I think it’s an exciting dealership,” said Councilmember Gleam Davis. “The architecture is exciting. I think it’s great to have a MINI dealership. The closest one, as I understanding it, is in Downtown L.A.”
Davis noted that it’s not the job of council to determine who was right or wrong in that dispute over previous demolition impacts.
Councilmember Bob Holbrook noted that, because the dealership offers service for MINI owners, it will do some to reduce traffic.
“This will save people who currently own these cars from traveling and driving around a whole lot to go and get service in other cities,” he said. “It’ll keep people close.”