In a surprising turn, the city of Santa Monica has selected Worthe Real Estate Group's plan for the massive, multi-use overhaul of the Bergamot Art Station (aka Bergamot Art Center) instead of the plan by 26Street/TOD Partners that had been recommended by the city's Economic Development department. Worthe's plan for the six-acre, soon-to-be-Expo-adjacent site calls for a 120-room, seven-story hotel operated by the excessively trendy SBE (SLS, Hyde, Katsuya), a "basic" new museum facility for the Santa Monica Museum of Art, 61,000 square feet of for-profit gallery space, 44,000 square feet for creative offices, a cafe, lots of public plazas and courtyards, and 383 total parking spaces.
Worthe's proposal was selected in part because it offered more space for galleries than other plans, plus the group had reached an agreement with the hospitality union for the hotel, according to Santa Monica Next.
The Worthe plan for the Art Station (not to be confused with the Bergamot Transit Village, which is a total mixed-use mess) might sound like a radical change for the gallery-packed area (all three plans submitted to the city were), but it was seen as "least likely to radically change the status quo," according to the LA Times. The plan from 26Street/TOD had called for a new museum and a $10-million endowment, but the gallery owners worried that so much emphasis on the museum would price them out of their long-time homes.