Affordable housing, parks could benefit from Developer fees SMDP 9/18/14
Editor:
According to the article, only $3.07/SF would be assessed for hotels. Considering hotel rooms cost around $900/SF [based on a local hotel float-up several years ago], this is a drop in the bucket. For a 500,000 SF project, this amounts to only $1.5 Million. This would build 13 units based on SM Redevelopment numbers of 1700 units for $195M over the last 25 years, but inflation will reduce the number of units. Supposedly one of the reasons for granting hotel DAs is we need more money for affordable housing; yet clearly $3.07/SF isn’t going to justify any new development. Even if the tax were $30/SF, a 250,000SF hotel costing over $200M to build, would bring in $7.5M, or a little under 4% of the hotel cost using that particular hotel DA proposal. That is still a drop in the bucket. I think a more appropriate number should be closer to 10% of the hotel cost going into the affordable housing fund. I think new hotels should build and own affordable housing for their employees, so the city doesn’t have to be involved at all. Hotels generate a lot of jobs, and supposedly a lot of the affordable housing rooms would go toward their employees. Then hotels could re-rent the room when employees leave. And what is the total cost to Santa Monica re: police, fire, sewage, water use, and schooling for providing affordable housing for day workers?
Jim Gerstley
Santa Monica

LA Opera at the Beach – Bravo!
Editor:
Hats off the L.A. Opera for last week’s LA Opera at the Beach – its inaugural live digital simulcast featuring Verdi’s “La Traviata” at the Santa Monica Pier! I was among the hundreds on viewers who packed a folding chair, snacks and a sweater to enjoy the free and thrilling performance al fresco. While the lush offerings from LA Opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion always intrigued me, the trifecta of high ticket prices, driving downtown and the intimidation of art of opera had always stopped me from attending. Experiencing the Opera at the Beach overcame all my personal obstacles, as I was swept away by the larger-than-life performance projected on a gigantic screen, while enjoying the salty ocean breeze and the wafting aromas of popcorn, French fries and corn dogs in a delightful high-low mash-up. I urge the LA Opera to make Opera at the Beach a major annual event: L.A. Opera at the Beach could be the Los Angeles’ equivalent to New York’s Shakespeare in the Park, bringing together hundreds of Angelinos to enjoy a generous taste of the City’s great culture and its iconic ocean front location.
Kate Schlesinger
Santa Monica

Pier Bridge
Editor:
I would hope that the new Santa Monica Pier Bridge will become an iconic landmark, architecturally and artistically, bringing tourists from everywhere to marvel at the inspirational masterpiece, like the Golden Gate bridge or the Sydney Opera House.
Hank Baylis

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