Last spring, growth-phobic Santa Monica rejected a plan from developer Hines to turn an old Papermate site into a giant retail/residential/office complex called Bergamot Transit Village. (It wasn't really a surprise; SaMo had been dragging out the inevitable for about seven years.) Now, Hines has sold the the site, which butts up against the Expo Line's future 26th/Bergamot station, says Santa Monica Next. The new owners want to reboot it as a full-fledged office park, which will probably mean just as much traffic in SaMo but none of the good stuff the Hines's BVT would have brought.
Hines's sale of the property wasn't unexpected. Early this year, the Texas-based developer was reportedly considering just renting out the existing space to businesses. They also hinted at selling. Considering the back and forth, the approval and then rescinded approval they'd received for the project, it's not surprising they decided to wash their hands of the site.
New owners Clarion Partners aren't likely to require city approval for the way they plan to use the old Papermate property. According to the City of Santa Monica's information on the forthcoming project, Clarion is thinking about tacking on about 7,500 square feet to an existing 196,317 square-foot building, and adaptively re-using an empty building on the site for creative office space. They'll also be building one level of underground parking and razing the building furthest east on the property. The current description doesn't include any housing like the BVT did.
Santa Monica does need more office space if it wants to stop hemorrhaging tech workers, which are leaving for office-space-rich Playa Vista and Venice. But, as was mentioned when the Hines-as-landlord scenario was first thrown out, Clarion's use of the site for office space means that they don't have to provide any of the community-oriented benefits or traffic calming measures that Hines was going to have to provide in exchange for their proposed development. And all those new employees on the property would also generate thousands of car trips every day, previous reports suggested. BVT opponents were worried about traffic and they're going to get it anyway.
· New Plans Filed For Papermate Site in Santa Monica [SMN]
· Santa Monica's Bergamot Transit Village Giving Up and It Could Be Even Worse Than Development [Curbed LA]
· NIMBYs Force SaMo to Go Backsies on Approvals For Huge Bergamot Transit Village By the Expo Line [Curbed LA]
· The 7-Year History of SaMo's Most Controversial Development [Curbed LA]