Santa Monica is moving closer to bringing a pair of six-story hotels to Fifth and Colorado, just across the street from the Expo Line terminus and Colorado Esplanade project. The city council preliminarily approved plans for a 131 room Courtyard by Marriott and a 138 room Hampton Inn and Suites, the Santa Monica Mirror reports. The projects are still early in the design phase (the planning commission previously called the designs "disappointing") and aren't expected to come online until 2015, around the time the second phase of the Expo Line light rail is expected to open (we're counting on 2016). The council is pushing for the Marriott and Hampton to provide a "livable wage" for employees (i.e., an income needed to afford a place in Santa Monica), along with health benefits and transit passes. The city also wants the developers to protect local landmark that, until now, looked like it was getting the boot to make way for the hotels. The Landmarks Commission is considering the current Midas muffler shop and the Royal Auto Body shop for historic structure status (a man named Waldo Waterman worked on the design of a flying car there in the 1930s). It's not clear if the car shop will be incorporated into the hotels, which will likely take out a nearby office building. What is certain is that the council is pushing for both hotels to offer a more pedestrian-oriented design that flows seamlessly with the Esplanade.
· Downtown Hilton, Marriott Float Up A Little Closer To Reality [SM Mirror]
· Downtown Santa Monica Getting Expo-Ready With Hotel Explosion [Curbed LA]
· "Disappointing" Hotel Plans For Possible Flying Car Site in SaMo [Curbed LA]