PS3: The demolition has paused for a few days while construction workers await a new part for their equipment. Chandler Braxton

The ongoing demolition of Parking Structure 3, which has accelerated over the past month after a slow start in the first half of the year, has been on a short pause over the past week while demolition crews await delivery of necessary equipment. But speculation that workers hit the brakes on the project due to the complaints of John Alle, a vocal opponent to the project, were unfounded, according to a statement provided by the City.

“The City of Santa Monica’s Public Works team shared that construction at Parking Structure 3 has been paused while the contractor repairs demolition equipment and awaits the delivery of a new part,” Santa Monica spokesperson Miranda Iglesias wrote in an email to the Daily Press on Monday, June 27. “The contractor plans to install the new part by tomorrow and demolition activities at Parking Structure 3 will resume on Wednesday, June 29.”

Last Tuesday, June 21, an attorney representing Alle, a local property owner, wrote a letter to the City demanding demolition be paused due to what he claimed was dangerous cement dust. According to a copy of the letter shared with the Daily Press, Alle and his attorney, Pantea Yashar of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, sent a similar demand a week earlier on June 13.

“Demolition work on Parking Garage 3 continues without adequate measures put into place to catch the cement dust and other harmful particles that are being emitted in the air during the process,” the letter stated.

Later in the letter, Yashar seemed to threaten a lawsuit against the City.

“This is an immediate and significant health hazard, and is causing ongoing damage to the HVAC systems and roofs of nearby property owners,” the letter claimed. “My client is in the process of producing air quality tests and expert statements confirming the harm from the City’s negligence in tarping Parking Garage 3 during demolition. The City must act swiftly and safely, or Mr. Alle will have no choice but to seek legal redress.”

Within days, demolition had paused, leading to speculation that the City was acquiescing to Alle’s latest demands to halt the project, which he has opposed since its inception. However, according to the City, that is not the case and asbestos abatement had been completed before demolition began more than three months earlier.

“Prior to the start of demolition in March 2022, asbestos abatement was completed by a third party contractor,” Iglesias wrote.

The demolition of Parking Structure 3 (PS3), located on 4th Street between Santa Monica Boulevard and Arizona Avenue, began in March following a failed legal effort on the part of Alle and fellow neighboring property owners to stop the project. Since 2018, the City has been working on a plan to demolish the 50-year-old parking garage and replace it with a multi-level affordable housing project, which would include ground floor retail and subterranean parking.

Alle’s final effort to stop demolition was thrown out on June 2, when a trio of Appellate Court Justices granted defendants the City of Santa Monica and California Coastal Commission’s motion to dismiss that case. 

Eleven days later, Alle and his legal team began contacting the City seeking to halt demolition, which by that point had already resulted in the majority of the structure being razed.

emily@smdp.com