Council could approve a multi-million dollar contract Tuesday for the demolition of Parking Structure 3.

Plans for the demolition of PS3 stretch back more than 20 years. The site was initially earmarked for a retail and cinema development, but this plan failed to materialize and in 2018 Housing Commission prioritized PS3 for a future affordable housing site. The project stalled for several years before shifting into high gear recently.

The consent calendar for Council’s June 8 meeting includes approval of a $2.5 million contract with AMPCO Contracting, Inc. for the work plus $172,800 with Arcadis Inc to provide construction observation.

“The Project would remove the entire structure, pave the site, cap all existing utilities at the property line for future use, and install fencing around the property. After demolition, the paved surface lot could temporarily be available for activities and programming in coordination with Downtown Santa Monica Inc., pending approval from the California Coastal Commission, until construction of the future affordable housing development commences,” said the staff report.

Coastal Commission conditionally approved the demolition of Parking Structure 3 in May allowing the City to advance its efforts to build an affordable housing development on the lot.

The decision was met with opposition from some community members and Downtown business owners who have mounted a campaign to keep the structure in its current form.

The structure is located at 4th St and Arizona Ave, in close proximity to the Promenade, and contains 337 spaces. City Hall has said a previous renovation of Parking Structure 6 added 400 spaces to the downtown total to account for the loss of Structure 3. Project critics say the loss of the 337 spaces would jeopardize economic recovery downtown just as businesses emerge from Covid-era shutdowns.

The Commission approval was based on a study by Walker Consultants, which concluded that the loss of PS3’s spaces would not adversely impact parking availability and coastal access in the surrounding area. The study determined that the redistributed parking demand could be accommodated within the existing capacities of nearby Parking Structures 1, 2 and 4. However, critics have said the study is invalid and shouldn’t be used to justify any decisions about the project.

The site was identified for possible demolition due to the cost of necessary repairs.

“PS 3 needs major repairs, including a seismic retrofit and replacement of the elevators, which were estimated to cost $4.5 million dollars in 2018. Construction costs have significantly increased since that time and staff anticipate the repairs now would cost considerably more than estimated in 2018,” said the report.

Council will meet on June 8 via teleconference. Closed session begins at 5:30 with open session to start no earlier than 6:30 p.m. The Consent Calendar is part of open session and while items are usually passed as a group motion with no discussion, individual items can be pulled for detailed debate.

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