When thinking about the merits of making any major decision, it can sometimes be useful to look at how it would play out in reverse.
Imagine if the new, redeveloped Miramar were already in place, and the project that City Council was being asked to consider was the Miramar as-is.
How would you judge a proposal to replace world class design with a jumble of buildings anchored by a drab tower of late 1950’s design? It would be difficult to imagine. In fact, if we ran the entitlements timeline backward, the proposed plan would:
· demolish 42 units of affordable housing on 2nd street during a severe housing shortage and homelessness crisis, and send its resident families packing,
· replace that affordable housing with an uninspiring asphalt parking lot,
· tear down a LEED Platinum mixed-use hotel for an older, less efficient complex of buildings,
· hand pink slips to hundreds of dismayed hotel workers during a period of great economic uncertainty,
· reduce annual city revenue by over $8 million dollars at time when revenue is historically low,
· wall off a large open space along Ocean Avenue that surrounds the landmarked Moreton Bay Fig Tree – and wall out the public,
· return scores of hotel employees’ cars to scarce street parking spaces in the Wilmont Neighborhood,
· and funnel all of the hotel’s car, bicycle and most of its pedestrian entrances and exits to a single driveway on congested Wilshire Boulevard.
Seen through this lens, it’s abundantly clear which is the better direction: moving forward with the outstanding Pelli & Pelli-designed plan that will be before the City Council next week.
I’ve run this scenario through my mind. I support the proposed redevelopment plan for the Miramar, and I hope our City Council will too.
Carl Hansen, Santa Monica
(Carl also serves as a Santa Monica Housing Commissioner and is a Co-chair of Santa Monica Forward)