Officials say the Third Street Promenade needs restaurants and bars that give visitors a reason to stay past 4 p.m.
On Wednesday, the Planning Commission will discuss whether the Promenade should accommodate semi-industrial businesses like breweries and restaurants that offer evening entertainment. The possible zoning changes would be part of Promenade 3.0, a project led by the city and Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. to reimagine the shopping district as consumers turn away from brick-and-mortar retail and spend more on dining.
A December survey commissioned by Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. found that pedestrian activity on the Promenade peaks around 3 p.m. City designer Alan Loomis said letting restaurants offer evening entertainment could help the Promenade become more of a nightlife destination.
New nightlife and dining options could come in the form of semi-industrial businesses like breweries, Loomis said.
Breweries are currently only allowed on the Promenade if customers buy and consume the beer on-site. Larger breweries that also ship beer to sell off-site are not permitted.
Loomis said lifting those restrictions could attract breweries, as well as coffee roasters or distilleries, to the Promenade.
The Promenade could also benefit from allowing merchants to rent smaller spaces, Loomis said.
Many businesses desire spaces as small as 3,000 to 5,000 square feet, he said. Letting them rent spaces that face the Promenade’s alleys could meet that demand.
“Such alley-facing tenants would likely pay significantly less in rent, diversifying the economic and retail mix of the Downtown,” Loomis said. “Furthermore, alley-facing lobbies will help increase the pedestrian activity on the alleys, which is frequently stated as a desire by Promenade 3.0 stakeholders.”
The Planning Commission will discuss whether to make a formal recommendation on the proposal to City Council at a later date.
The commission will meet at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at City Hall, 1685 Main St.