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Neff's King Gillette Ranch to House New Santa Monica Mountains Visitor Center

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The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area could get a new visitor center at the (mostly) Wallace Neff-designed King Gillette Ranch to replace the current far-flung Thousand Oaks center. The project is a joint effort among the National Park Service, California State Parks, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (whew), and they've just released an environmental assessment outlining the preferred plan. King Gillette Ranch (former estate of the razor magnate) is a 588 acre public park inside the Recreation Area on Mulholland Highway, but only about 59 acres have been developed, and only about 18 will be used for the visitor center.

The 6,000 square foot stable building built in 1928 will be modified to become the main Visitor Center, maintaining its walls and "architectural character," but shedding a non-conforming addition and updating to earn LEED platinum. A 2,400 square foot print shop from 1970 will be demolished and its foundation will be restored as a picnic area, and a new 1,000 square foot building will be built for the very important restrooms. A 100 seat outdoor amphitheater will be built into a knoll outcropping southwest of the stable building. Future phases will bring a 950 square foot multipurpose building that along with the restrooms and stable will form a horseshoe around an orientation plaza. Solar panels will cover some of the 50 space parking lot. The goal is for the entire center to be carbon-neutral. Public comment period for the plan will end March 15. LAist drops some more history on the ranch.
· Visitor Center at King Gillette Ranch [National Park Service]
· Proposed Visitor Center for Santa Monica Mountains Takes a Big Step [LAist]