Santa Monica residents had their first chance to feed back on the proposed Ocean Avenue Project, the Frank Gehry-designed hotel/condo tower plus art museum at Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. Opinions were split on the 244-foot tower--a mite taller than the current four-story limit downtown--that's the most striking feature of the project. One attendee praised the "very slender, delicate building," while another feared its breeze-blocking potential and the "Manhattanization" of the ocean front, according to Santa Monica Patch. Developer Jeffrey Worthe assured the crowd that "If the community doesn't want this, it's not going to happen," though not everyone in attendance bought the argument.
Worthe himself admitted that the tower's height was critical to the viability of the project, so the skeptics might be on to something: "[B]eing able to keep the museum and open space while retaining 125 hotel rooms--the minimum number he said he needs to make the project profitable--are what's driving the height, Worthe said. With the museum, especially, the height is 'essential,' he said." That last part will no doubt catch the attention of the city, which tried and failed to bring a major museum to Santa Monica when Eli Broad was shopping for sites.
· Gehry Building Delights Some, Gives Others Heartburn [SM Patch]
· New Views of Frank Gehry Tower in SaMo: Lots of Ped Action [Curbed LA]