The Silicon Beach effect is spreading through all of Venice like wildfire, with tech businesses flocking to the area and, in many cases, booting other businesses out so they can move in. On the Venice Boardwalk, the creep has been slow and steady: totally-not-just-for-sexting app Snapchat began in a rented former pot shop on the Boardwalk, then later moved into a spot in the Thornton Lofts (and with a bunch of other nearby locations). Now there's a possibility that an actual full-on, glassy office building could be coming to what's now a parking lot right on Ocean Front Walk, says Yo! Venice, and word is that there's already a tech tenant circling.
The plan calls for a snazzy, 28,000-square-foot structure that, from the available rendering, appears to be three stories tall. According to city planning documents, about 22,800 square feet of that would be offices, with about 5,200 square feet of retail space and one residential unit. There are also two levels of underground parking planned. The architect who designed the building, Venice-based Glen Irani, says there's an "active permit" for the site that allows a building of roughly the same size on the lot, but one that would be retail and restaurant space—more in line with what's already on the Boardwalk.
Irani says he told the owner that restaurants are gross and that an office would be better for the spot: "It's an economically viable option, but certainly not the highest and best use nor the most neighborhood friendly use. Such a use would entail numerous deliveries every day, food trash odors, homeless lurking for food trash, constant vehicular traffic, and possibly a bar or two with loitering drunkards after-hours as most every bar does have," Irani says. It's rumored that there's already a tech tenant waiting in the wings for the office complex to be built (Yo! Venice suspects it's Snapchat, which is currently spread out across several locations that are close but not unified and seems constantly to be signing more and more leases.)
Neighbors who were present at a community meeting to discuss the potential development seemed mostly worried about the loss of the parking lot, which many of them actually use.
· High-Tech Office Space for 601 Ocean Front Walk? [Yo!Venice]
· A Partial List of Venice Businesses Potentially Pushed Out By Unstoppable Snapchat [Curbed LA]