A new rendering shows the 23rd Starbucks coming to Santa Monica will be remarkably different from the rest.
While the shop at the corner of Ocean Front Walk near the Pier will serve the same Frappuccinos and coffee-concoctions as the rest, the façade will retain the character of the Pier.
“It reflects everything we have talked about with the Landmark Commission about the whimsical, carnival, carousel quality of the Boardwalk,” Architect William Dale Brantley said. His firm, aArts-Architects, is responsible for the remodels happening on the entire property, from the new Starbucks replacing the Carousel Café to the coming expansion of Big Deans into the neighboring gift shop.
The property gained Landmark status in December last year based on its location near the Pier. The building was constructed in 1921and has survived wind, weather, salt and most recently fire. In 2015, it took firefighters nearly four hours to extinguish the flames that broke out in an upstairs apartment, displacing twenty rent control residents.
In order to restore the building, the architect first had to peel back the layers. Metal siding has covered the brick on the north side of the building since 1959. Beneath the metal, the Brantley discovered a ghost sign that reads “Del’s Café” as well as broken and cracked bricks – many will have to be replaced. The ghost sign will stay and passerbys will be able to read it as part of the building’s legacy.
“Who ever did this building, I like them a lot,” Brantley said. “You can see the care and thought they put into it.”
Now, Brantley is tasked with preserving the unknown designer’s legacy while dealing with significant issues. A recent inspection revealed seismic reinforcement was added “haphazardly and without permits” in the 1980s, according to a staff report provided to the Landmarks Commission. The seismic work will be redone as part of the remodel.
At the Landmarks meeting where the Starbucks was discussed, “whimsical” seemed to be the buzzword.
“Starbucks finally got a little flustered with us all and let us have our way with everything including the wavy canopy which is not their standard,” Brantley said at the meeting. In a conversation with the Daily Press, Brantley said the corporate giant was open to working with the architect on new ideas that don’t fit the corporate image.
Those features include a leprechaun green canopy, purple canvas awnings above the second story windows, and a seascape mural along a parapet above the roof. The mural draws inspiration from the nearby Aquarium.
“They went along with it,” Brantley said of Starbucks’ corporate management. “Even the railing out front, we’re going to do an off-red top and then the corralling rail to define the coffee area will have different colors.
This will be Starbucks’ 23rd location in Santa Monica, including locations inside grocery stores and other retail outlets, according to the corporate website.
The Landmarks Commission will discuss plans for the rest of the property at tonight’s meeting.