A community meeting on the Pico-Centinela project is being held on Thursday, Jan. 26, at Fairview Library, located at 21st Street and Ocean Park Boulevard in Sunset Park. What’s the Pico-Centinela project, you ask?

Good question because it wasn’t listed (at the time of this writing) on City Hall’s planning department case list or under current projects on the department’s website.

Turns out it’s a massive 300 unit housing project with 284 apartments, 16 condominiums and 5.000 square feet of commercial space proposed for 3400 Pico Boulevard — formerly the home to the Recording Academy, better known as the folks behind the Grammy awards.

Dallas, Texas developer Trammell Crow Company and partner Westport Capital Partners, LLC of Wilton, Connecticut are the team behind the redevelopment of the two-and-a-half acre site. The property is adjacent to the I-10 Freeway and borders on Pico, Centinela Avenue and 34th Street.

Readers may remember the mega-developer/real estate investment firm was involved in a controversial and bitterly fought contest over a 1950s apartment building at 301 Ocean Ave., where it planned to build a luxury condo project. The firm acquired the apartments once owned by Santa Monica’s first lady mayor, Clo Hoover in 2007 and Ellised it (evicted the tenants) in 2009.

Some former tenants complained that Trammell Crow failed to maintain the property and said the owner threatened to delay or not pay relocation benefits if they didn’t sign gag orders promising not to speak out against the project.

The size, design and overall scale of the proposed multi-million dollar condo project at the corner of Ocean Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard was a sore point for neighbors. The project was eventually scaled down from 26 to 20 units and its architecture was changed from Modern/Contemporary to Spanish Revival.

Neighbors worked to designate Clo Hoover’s building as a landmark but the City Council overturned a Landmarks Commission landmark designation for the structure in 2009, opening the door for final approval of the luxury condo project the following year.

And, should I mention that Trammell Crow and their law firm/lobbyist Armbruster Goldsmith & Delvac have been consistent and generous contributors to pro-development council candidates? Naw.

After all of the discord, It seems ironic that Brad Cox, Senior Managing Director for Trammell Crow Company, will receive the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce’s “Leadership Award” at the city/chamber “State of the City” breakfast on Jan. 26.

Residents living near Trammell Crow’s Pico-Centinela project say it will exacerbate traffic and impact nearby Sunset Park residential neighborhoods already affected by freeway on- and off-ramps as well as Trader Joe’s up the street.

Will Trammell Crow’s Pico-Centinela project be as contentious as their crosstown development at 301 Ocean Ave.? We’ll see.

Flying dirty?

In additional news, the Airport Commission will hold its annual Environmental Workshop tonight, to review Santa Monica Airport (SMO) environmental issues. Experts from air quality regulatory agencies and environmental scientists will give presentations related to SMO specifically, as well as provide general information on the environmental impact of aviation activities and airports in general.

Among the speakers are an impressive list of experts and academics.

An “Aviation Air Quality Overview” will be presented by Bob Trimborn, Airport Services Director, who will provide an overview of aviation air quality, the regulatory environment affecting airports and a review of environmental initiatives and programs currently underway at Santa Monica Airport.

A presentation of a UCLA study, “Aircraft Emission Impacts in a Neighborhood Adjacent to a General Aviation Airport in Southern California,” will be made by Professor, S.E. “Suzanne” Paulson, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and The Institute of the Environment, Aerosol Atmospheric Chemistry Group, UCLA.

A report on the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) General Aviation Study at SMO, including a supplemental study in 2010 during the runway closure will be made by Dr. Philip Fine, Atmospheric Measurements Manager, SCAQMD.

Discussions will cover the recent “Portland (Oregon) Airport Lead Study” and the soon to commence “Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Emissions Source Apportionment Study” by Dr. John Pehrson, Associate, Camp Dresser and McKee and research on the health effects of air pollution by Dr. Richard J. Jackson, Professor and Chair, Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, UCLA.

A question and answer session will be held after the presentations. The workshop is at 6:30 p.m., tonight in City Hall, 1685 Main St., second floor, City Council Chambers.

This workshop sure seems to be a lot more serious and potentially productive than the airport pollution Kangaroo Court held by my favorite empty suit, 28th District State Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) last Nov. 30 in West Los Angeles.

If you’re planning to attend tonight’s workshop, keep an open mind and listen to the experts. This is a fact-finding workshop, not a venting opportunity on how much you love or hate SMO.

Bill can be reached at mr.bilbau@gmail.com

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