The pressures of popularity seem to be making Santa Monica a little crazy lately--they want new development, they don't want new development, they want starchitecture, they don't want starchitecture. Now they want starchitecture again. In a totally shocking move this past September, the city council rejected a huge development plan designed by Pritzker Prizewinner Rem Koolhaas's firm OMA and developed by Metropolitan Pacific Capital, even though it fit all their criteria for the site and city staff had recommended approval. (The mayor gave this non-explanation: "It may be the most perfect project on this site. But does that make it the right project?") The city owns the two-and-a-half-acre Plaza at Santa Monica site, at Fourth and Arizona, and it's one of the last undeveloped parcels in downtown; three groups competed for the commission and the MPC was first selected this past summer. After the September rejection, the city asked both the MPC group and a group led by developer Related and architecture firm Koning Eizenberg to come back with some tweaks to their plans. On Tuesday, they re-selected the MPC/OMA group.
MPC's plans now include 96 housing units, 48 of which will be designated affordable housing. The development will top out at 12 stories, with 1,200 parking spaces underneath, and also include 225 hotel rooms, plazas, terraces, and more open space, and a cultural venue.
The agreement this week just ensures that Santa Monica will enter into negotiations with the MPC team; this could still go off the rails again. The Lookout News says that "could begin construction by 2017."
· City Council Taps Local Developer for Downtown Santa Monica Dream Site [Lookout News]
· SHOCKER: Santa Monica Rejects Big Rem Koolhaas Project [Curbed LA]