Forty years into his career, celebrated architect Frank Gehry has never designed a project in his hometown of Santa Monica, CA.
That would change under a proposal by a local development team headed by M. David Paul Associates and Worthe Real Estate Group, which has unveiled a proposal to build a 125-room hotel and residential property, a museum and 30,000 square feet of retail in downtown Santa Monica.
The project by architect Frank Gehry would be the first developed by the celebrated building designer in the town long associated with his practice: "After 25 years, I am excited to finally design a project in my hometown of 40 years," he said on a web site presenting the project to the public.
The city council must first approve the project on the 1.9-acre site, and is expected to consider it at a meeting later this month.
Dubbed the Ocean Avenue Project, it is bordered by Second Street to the east, Santa Monica Boulevard to the south and Ocean Avenue to the west, on one of a limited number of downtown "opportunity sites." The pedestrian friendly project will preserve two landmark buildings, include below-grade parking and will have a step-back design that minimizes view impacts.
The hotel and residential building with restaurant and retail will create jobs and generate significant annual tax revenues that will strengthen the local economy, proponents say. The development will include a three-building, 36,000-square-foot museum campus open to the public that will include a new Gehry-designed exhibition space in addition to the integration of two existing landmarked structures that will be preserved and adaptively reused.
The residential component will include affordable housing, replacement rent-controlled apartment units and 22 for-sale condominium units.
"We’ve owned the majority of this property for decades and have been searching for just the right project for this very special site and for Santa Monica. We are excited about the potential to create a new cultural anchor for residents and visitors with a Gehry-designed building and museum campus, said David Paul, president of M Paul Associates.