Downtown Santa Monica Inc. (DTSM) held its annual meeting on Aug. 13 and among the many speeches, toasts, reflections and plans was a wealth of data regarding the city’s flagship economic zone.

DTSM Inc is governed by a board of directors (13). Board members servefour year terms and no more than two consecutive terms. The City Council appoints six board members and the downtown property owners select six through an election process. The last seat belongs to the city manager or their representative.

DTSM is funded primarily through property bases fees paid by property owners between Ocean Ave/7th and Wilshire/Colorado. Those owners paid $5,599,515 in assessments towards the organizations total income of $6,988,767. DTSM spent $6,340,367 last year.

$1,416,289 went towards the ambassadors program while $1,429,794 was spent on maintenance. Restrooms, elevators and trash cans are cleaned three times a day. Workers also walk the parking structures three times a day for loose trash.

Daily tasks include mopping stairwells, restrooms landings, reporting broken lights, wiping down handrails, wiping down signage, wiping down walls. The trashcans are cleaned and deodorized once a week and staff are continuously removing graffiti, handbills or attending to emergency maintenance. DTSM also provides power washing to the different zones and parking structures.

There were 11,242 incidents of graffiti and 1,794 stickers/flyers removed during the year.

555,235 people used the public restroom in Parking structure 4.

Ambassadors helped find 153 lost items, responded to 47 aggressive panhandlers, had 85 incidents of filming without a permit, 230 public disturbances, 467 incidents of sleeping in public, 10,556 bike/skateboard violations and 18,472 smoking violations.

Of their interactions with the public, ambassadors gave 41,712 business referrals, 8,060 restroom directions, 4,301 dining tips, 128 vehicle assists and 108 art/entertainment referrals.

Maintenance and ambassadors are tracked through a mystery shopper program. Anonymous shoppers rank several factors out of a possible 100 points. Hospitality ambassadors scored 91.7, parking garages scored 93.5, Garage staff scored 92, downtown walking area scored 92.6, welcome kiosks scored 95.5 and landscaping scored 99.6.

According to the 2015 homeless count, the number of unsheltered individuals rose by 63 percent to a total of 96. The report attributed the increase to it an increasing ease of transit between cities.

Part of DTSM’s work is focused on special events including the Picnics on the Promenade activity, Sonic Submarine concert festival, 25th anniversary celebration, Winterlit holiday season (including tree lighting and Santa parade) and the annual ICE at Santa Monica. According to the report 58,954 skaters used the rink last year.

Occupancy of downtown parking structures ranged from a low of 38 percent at the Library and Structure 8 to a high of 73 percent at Structure 3.

Downtown’s residential population grew 3.4 percent to a total of 4,038. Of those residents, 48 percent were between 25-44, 47.8 percent are female, 60 percent have a bachelors degree, 74 percent are white, 35 percent are married, the median household income is $62,717 and the average family size is just 1.38.

There are an estimated 2,575 housing units downtown. 91.6 percent are renter occupied, 2.1 percent owner occupied and 6.3 percent are vacant. Median rent is $1,518, up 12.7 percent from last year. Currently proposed projects could add an additional 338 studio units, 480 1-bedrooms, 277 2-bedrooms and 56 3-bedroom units.

Downtown accounts for 4 percent of the city’s total square footage but generates 33.8 percent of total sales tax. Downtown generated $1,058,342,800 in sales tax compared to $105,810,400 for Montana Ave, $125,628,900 for Pico Blvd., $116,087,100 for Main Street and $55,314,400 for the Pier.

When lodging revenues are factored in Downtown contributes, $1,161,245,750 to the city.

Retail sales downtown were broken into several categories. When total sales were compared to the estimated total demand for a city like Santa Monica, Downtown met 2.9 percent of the total need for cars, 68.4 percent of the need for furniture, 136.2 percent of the need for electronics, 0.8 percent of the need for building materials, 2.2 percent of the need for groceries, 29.6 percent of health and personal care needs, 1 percent of the need for gasoline, 160 percent of the city’s clothing needs, 41.6 percent of sporting goods, 32.3 percent of general merchandise, 19.4 percent of miscellaneous need, 38.6 percent of non-store retail and 37.6 percent of food services.

There are almost five jobs for every resident in the downtown area. The largest employment sectors are accommodation & food service, retail and professional services. The largest employers are the Fairmont Miramar Hotel (456 employees), Big Blue Bus (445) employees and demand Media (336 employees).

Average office rent downtown is $4.33 per square foot, the average office size is 10,525 square feet, and the area has a 21.9 percent vacancy rate.

Hotel occupancy downtown is at 80.1 percent. There are 1,127 existing hotel rooms and 799 hotel rooms approved. The average daily hotel rate is $312.22, up ten percent from last year. Occupancy tax increased 7.4 percent to $14.9 million.

Approved hotels include a Courtyard by Marriot at 5th/Colorado, a Hampton Inn at 5th/Colorado and reuse of the landmarked building at Wilshire/7th.

Proposed hotels include a redevelopment of the Fairmont Miramar and Wyndham hotel. A new hotel at Santa Monica and Ocean could be designed by the Frank Gehry and a hotel is proposed for the corner of 6th/Arizona.

Calls for service to the fire department were on par with 2014’s 2,064 calls but due to a change in reporting timeframes, only six months of data were available for 2015 (1,058 calls). The police department responded to 30,160 calls for service to Beat 1 that includes downtown, Main Street, the Pier and beach.

editor@www.smdp.com

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